Russia Will Pay Off USSR Debts to Croatia
Russian Finance Ministry managed to decide upon USSRâ€™s unsettled debt in clearing currency to ex-Yugoslavia--$806 million. According to Kommersantâ€™s information, Russia and Croatia are to sign an agreement on Russiaâ€™s paying $185.7 million of the debt by commodity supply. Other part of the debt, $105 million, will be covered through Tekhnopromexportâ€™s building a power unit for heat power plant. The rest will be paid in helicopters. Yet, the question of Russiaâ€™s debt to Serbia and Montenegro will probably be put off till 2007 due to the upcoming Montenegroâ€™s separation from Serbia.
The larger part of USSRâ€™s debt to Yugoslavia, 1.291 billion clearing dollars (at the exchange rate of 0.625 rubles for 1 US dollar), appeared as a result of price reduction on oil imported into USSR in exchange for goods and industrial equipment.
Russia's Vneshekonombank (Foreign Trade Bank) estimated the debt in June 2001. The debt was distributed between all ex-Yugoslavia republics: 38 percent to Serbia and Montenegro, 23 percent to Croatia, 16 percent to Slovenia, 7.5 percent to Macedonia, 15.5 percent to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Paying the debts off had been delayed till recently due to the prolonged talks with Bosnia.
However, the process moved on in early May. Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov gave approval to agreement with Croatia on covering the debt by supplying goods and services for $185.7 million. The agreement is to be settled by late May.
Tekhnopromexport informed Kommersant that the larger part of the debt, $105 million, will be paid off by constructing a new 230-megawatt power unit for the heat power plant in the city of Sisak. The corresponding agreement with Croatia is to be signed soon.
Tekhnopromexport has already signed contract for a large-scale project in ex-Yugoslavia on May 10. It will build two 900-megawatt power units in Novi-Sad in Serbia in cooperation with Swiss company Mentor Energy.
Russia will supply helicopters to Croatia to pay off the last part of the debt. Russian Ministry of Finance was about to make agreements to cover $306 debt to Serbia and Montenegro. Yet, the process was suspended due to the referendum on Montenegroâ€™s separation. Around a year and a half might be needed to continue the talks, should Montenegro separate from Serbia. The debt to ex-Yugoslavia is one of the last unsettled â€śclearingâ€? debts of former USSR.