By KIM WOODLAND
With a message of support but no financial help, President Clinton met with Boris Yeltsin Tuesday and urged to country to “reject the failed policies of the past” in coping with its economic crisis.
“Given the facts before you, I have to tell you that I do not believe there are any painless solutions,” Clinton told a new generation of Russian leaders at Moscow State University of International Relations.
He repeatedly said that Russia must “play by the rules” of international commerce.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin greeted President Clinton with a bear hug and handshake in the Kremlin’s presidential study. And before the meeting, Yeltsin declared “Russian-American relations are developing successfully.”
With Russia’s economic turmoil throwing the summit into uncertainty, Clinton addressed the crisis with frankness, but offered no specific ideas on how the new democracy could wear out the tailspin of its currency.
President Clinton told students the answer to the problem is not stopping in the middle of the transition and reverting back to dictatorship.
“I believe you will create the conditions of growth if — but only if — you continue to move decisively along the path of democratic, market-oriented constructive revolution” he said.
Richard Davis, an associate professor in the Political Science Department, said, “I don’t think Russian will go back to dictatorship, I think there will be a continuance toward a democratic regime.”
Davis also said the younger generation is more likely to believe in a democratic movement. It is older generations who are more apt to revert to their old ways.
“As long as Clinton shows support for Yeltsin it sends a signal to the Russian people that the United States supports them, and in turn the people are more likely to support their president.” Davis said.
Besides discussing Russia’s economic turmoil, Clinton was there today to sign an agreement with Yeltsin to eliminate some 50 metric tons of plutonium taken from dismantled missile warheads and break down the weapons material so it cannot be used for military purposes.
But while President Clinton is meeting with Yeltsin, Wall Street is feeling the effects of Russia’s failing government.
Monday’s 512.61 point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average to 7,539.07, put it below 8,000 for the first time in seven months and more than wiped out the remnants of all of this year’s gains.
It was the second-largest point drop in market history, closely trailing the record 524.26 points of Oct. 27, 1997, and just above the 508-point “Black Monday” swoon of Oct. 19, 1987, when the market had its biggest percentage fall, a tumble of 22.6 percent.
In comparison, Monday’s loss was just 6.4 percent, but it was the biggest one-day percentage drop since last October.