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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Balkans Seal Agreement on Soviet Debt

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Russia and five states that emerged from the former Yugoslavia agreed on Wednesday on a theoretical level of Russia's debt from the time of communism, leaving the Balkan creditors to settle claims individually.

Russia will repay a total of 1.292 billion clearing dollars, the currency unit that was used to avoid cross-border money transfers to pay for exports between the Soviet Union and its trading partners.

Clearing dollars have been valued at par to the U.S. dollar in the past, but under this deal Russia will fix an exchange rate with each creditor state separately. Only then will it become clear how much hard currency each will actually get.

The clearing dollars will be divided according to a previously implemented key, giving Serbia and Montenegro 38.0 percent, Croatia 23.0 percent, Slovenia 16.0 percent, Bosnia 15.5 percent and Macedonia 7.5 percent of assets.

Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Kolotukhin said Russia was happy with the deal reached 12 years after communist Yugoslavia fell apart in 1991. "But we can't agree to one-to-one parity. Maybe 50 U.S. cents for one clearing dollar will be acceptable," he said.

Kolotukhin said Russia hoped for a quick deal with Serbia and Montenegro and was weighing a few options, including supply of equipment to the power sector or taking part in a major overhaul of Djerdap hydroelectric plant.