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Can settling debts change an image?

It is all very un-Russian. Strong growth and a burgeoning trade surplus mean Russia is flush with money, money that would have been squandered in the past. But for once the government is thinking ahead.

The Kremlin is going to pay off its IMF debt early in a move designed to smooth debt payments in the coming years and above all to try to undo Russia's image as a defaulter.

Russia owes the IMF $8.8 billion but president Vladimir Putin says he will repay $2.7 billion of the $3.3 billion due in 2003 early - over the next year.

Russia's debt service hits a spike in 2003 ($bn)
  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Russia debt 7.9 8.4 9.4 6.6 8.1
Multilateral 2.8 4.4 4.5 2.9 2.2
Eurobond 2.6 1.7 3.2 2.5 5
Bilateral creditors 2.4 2.2 1.6 1.1 0.8
MinFin VI-VIII 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Former USSR 4.1 4.6 7.8 4.4 4.4
Paris Club 3.9 4.4 4.1 4.3 4.3
MinFin IV-V 0.2 0.2 3.7

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