This report focuses on two divergent scenarios faced by Russia in the wake of its financial crisis of August 1998. Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov expected either a vicious cycle of decline and possible collapse in government or an economic management scenario following outlines of an agreed action program that makes imperative fundamental changes in the Russian financial system. The success or failure of Russia in dealing with this crisis may have more effect on the pursuit of peace and prosperity by the United States than any other foreign policy crisis.
In fiscal year 1994, the new states of the former Soviet Union became collectively the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance made available from all sources. Whether and how the assistance program is helping to bring about democratic systems and free market economies is increasingly a question of interest to Congress and the public at large.