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Russia reluctant to help euro zone bailout

Russia reluctant to help euro zone bailout
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The head of the International Monetary Fund got a firm ‘nyet’ from Moscow as she visited seeking support for the euro zone’s bailout fund.

Christine Lagarde was told any Russian aid to the euro zone would go via the IMF not directly.

While there she warned Russia’s economy is also vulnerable because of its reliance on oil and gas exports: “It is a time for realistic assumptions, but also a time for action, and a time for bold collective action. We could face a downward spiral of uncertainty, of financial instability, and a collapse of global demand – that really is the dark scenario and it could happen.”

Thanks to its wealth from commodities, Russia holds the world’s third largest foreign reserves.

It has so far only committed up to 7.25 billion euros to the euro zone through the IMF.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin faulted the construction of the euro zone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), and reiterated that Russia and other major emerging nations would prefer to channel any aid via the IMF.

Putin said it would have been “right” for the European Central Bank to backstop the EFSF, adding that any inflationary risks caused by the resulting monetary creation were justified under current circumstances.

“I know that … many European colleagues think differently — they want strictly to observe the principles of financial discipline and won’t step either to the right or to the left,” he said after hosting regional security talks in St Petersburg.