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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Communists Offer Only Hints Of Anticipated Economic Plan

The Communist Party on Tuesday offered just a glimpse of its long-awaited economic program, saying, among other things, that Russia ought to stop accepting foreign loans from the West because such loans discouraged people from working.

"We believe that people should start working and earning ... and stop drawing foreign credits," said Tatyana Koryagina, one of the Communist Party's top economists.

In March, the International Monetary Fund approved a $10 billion loan, payable over three years, to help Russia in its transition to a market economy.

Koryagina's remarks came at a press conference where the communists had been expected to unveil their economic program, but instead offered only hints, saying the program was not yet complete and would be published by week's end.

"Every day and hour are so precious for us, as we are putting the finishing touches on the program," she said.

Valentin Kuptsov, a top Communist Party official and the man in charge of Gennady Zyuganov's presidential campaign, said the Communists were still negotiating over some details of the economic program with other members of a coalition backing Zyuganov.

In particular, Kuptsov noted that Viktor Anpilov, head of the hard-line fringe movement Working Russia, was pushing Zyuganov to nationalize Russia's banks -- a proposal Zyuganov has denounced. "We disagree with Viktor Anpilov on some matters of principle. But that does not mean the bloc is not united," Kuptsov said.

He also said the Communist Party's own internal polls showed Zyuganov leading Yeltsin by 30 percent to 17 percent. Kuptsov would not reveal who conducted the surveys, or any other details about them. Most published national polls, including one sponsored by The Moscow Times and CNN, show Yeltsin in the lead by several percentage points.

Bemoaning the youth of "my young colleagues" and fellow economists, former prime minister Yegor Gaidar and presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky, Koryagina blamed the wild inflation of 1992 and 1993 on their inexperience, adding, "I hope that this was not done deliberately."

She said Gaidar and Yavlinsky believed in laissez-faire economics -- "that is, the assumption that the economy does not require any regulation by the state. This is another point of difference between us: We say that the economy should be administered by the government in a civilized way."

Asked where the party would get the money for promised increases in pensions and salaries and price supports on many goods, Koryagina cited 125 trillion rubles ($25 billion) she said was held by the population as personal savings or "invested in fairly liquid projects that have been poorly thought out."