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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

IMF Official Warns Russia Of Backsliding

WASHINGTON -- Russia is at a critical point on its way to growth, but political pressures could still force the nation to "snatch defeat" from the jaws of economic victory, International Monetary Fund deputy managing director Stanley Fischer said Tuesday.

Fischer said in a television interview that Russma would have to meet monthly economic targets this year in order to obtain the tranches of a tentatively approved $10.2 billion loan.

"Russia is at a critical point now and the Russian reform program is at a critical point," he said.

Fischer said that Russia's achievements last year were significant and that growth was almost certain to begin if the country stays the course as inflation comes down this year.

He said his greatest fear was that Russians would run out of patience before the reforms could begin paying off.

He said that could happen because there is always a time lag between stabilization and the beginning of growth. "That is the greatest fear [that] very near victory, they would snatch defeat," he said.

Fischer, in the interview, said he hoped the Russian loan could be brought before the IMF board by the end of March but it was more likely to take until the middle of April.