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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Economy: Neglect Is Dangerous

Each week the numbers grow more ominous. The ruble drops precipitously, hovers and then continues its mercurial decline. Inflation is headed out of control, with one Western academic estimating it is raging at a rate equal to 14, 000 percent annually. Production is plummeting and unemployment, according to a study by the International Labor Organization, is set to reach crisis proportions. But in their political cocoons, the government, the parliament and the foreign institutions capable of assisting Russia seem to have lost sight of the dimensions of the problem. President Yeltsin spends time fighting with Mikhail Gorbachev; the parliament seems more interested in bringing down the government than in dealing honestly with the multitude of economic problems facing the country. Russia is not getting a good example from the industrialized democracies. The Paris Club continues to debate the rescheduling of former Soviet debts, an issue that should have been decided long ago.

Greenpeace Blockades Woodlands Project

Environmentalists from a Green-peace ship have blockaded the biggest foreign timber project on Russian soil about 800 kilometers north of Vladivostock in the Par East, contending that the joint venture threatens the local woodlands. The Korean industrial giant Hyundai, which has already invested $60 million in the logging company, Svetlaya, and plans to build a huge timber processing plant, says that Greenpeace has no idea what it is talking about and that the project has received scientific approval. Located in the Bazharsk region near the port of Svetlaya, the joint venture has also been contending with a challenge from a local tribe of 700 people, the Udege, who want to protect their hunting grounds and may have joined forces with Greenpeace. Lee Sei Hwan, managing director of Hyundai in Moscow, calls the dispute a ""test case"" for foreign investment in Russia. He said that unless the Russian government reacted firmly, other investors would be scared away.
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