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Interview with Evsey Gurvich

Evsey Gurvich, the Head of the Economic expert group in Moscow spoke to Russia Today about the reasons why Russia writes off debts to poorest countries, including Afghanistan.

Russia Today: Could you explain why Russia is doing this?

Evsey Gurvich: The major objective is just to support development of Afghanistan as well as we do with other less developed countries to reduce poverty.

RT: You have mentioned other countries – could you give us a few examples where Russia is providing debt relief to other countries, other than Afghanistan?

E.G.: The most prominent recent example is debt relief provided to Iraq and Russia is participating in the HIPC, the IMF and World Bank programme of giving relief to highly indebted poor countries.

RT: You say there is an economic initiative here, but countries such as Afghanistan is in turmoil. Surely the benefits from this event long-term, it is going to be a long way off before Russia sees any benefit?

E.G.: Yes, but benefits are not only of economic nature. Debt relief is a part of official development assistance and I could mention the new guidelines of official development assistance, adopted by the Russian government and Russia regards official development assistance as a way to improve relations with all partner countries and to contribute to international safety and well-being.

RT: Would the development programme involve also providing financial aid rather than just forgetting about the country's debt?

E.G.: Financial aid is provided by the IMF.

RT: And just finally, Russia will benefit from this state relief, as you say, in a long-term. Is Russia in any way setting an example to other countries, in actually this case with Afghanistan, working off a massive, very big debt?

E.G.: Yes, Afghanistan's debt is one of the largest and we look forward that the remaining part of the debt will be repaid by Afghanistan when they get better.