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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bank: Chechnya Not a Criteria

The war in Chechnya is no longer a top priority for the World Bank in deciding whether to renew its loan program, Michael Carter, the bank's country director for Russia, said at a briefing Wednesday.

"We can say that the [Chechen] question has been completely taken off the list of criteria," Carter was quoted as saying by Prime-Tass. He added that because at the present time the International Monetary Fund is discussing the government's new economic program, the Chechen question might arise only when it comes to the delivery of a concrete tranche, at which time Russia may be required to explain how Chechnya-related expenditures are affecting the federal budget.

Carter said the only obstacle to the release of the final tranche of the Social Protection Adjustment Loan, or SPAL, is the absence of a law that would exclude the use of the minimum wage in calculating social allowances.

"It was, of course, unrealistic to expect that such a law would have been passed while the presidential elections were looming on the horizon," said Carter.

Carter added that a World Bank mission is now in Moscow and is studying whether the bank should release a $50 million tranche soon.

Carter added that negotiations on the renewal of the Third Structural Adjustment Loan, or SAL-3, would start within the next two to three weeks. The government is discussing annulling SAL-3, and concluding a new agreement with the World Bank for loans that would go to economic programs.

Of the original $1.1 billion structural adjustment loan, $1.5 billion remains to be disbursed.