John Maggs in Washington, William Armbruster in New York and Bruce Barnard in Brussels contributed to this report. Reporters at Reuters and Knight-Ridder

Financial News also contributed.

President Clinton and other major Western leaders Monday expressed support for Russian President Boris Yeltsin's put-down of a bloody revolt by pro- Communist forces opposed to his radical economic reforms.

After a two-week siege of Russia's Parliament by lawmakers opposed to his rule, Mr. Yeltsin crushed the revolt in a blazing tank and commando assault that left hundreds dead. At least 62 people reportedly were killed during the storming of a Moscow television station; some reports said at least 500 died during the assault on the Russian "White House."

"The president stands foursquare behind him," Dee Dee Myers, White House spokeswoman, told reporters traveling with Mr. Clinton in California.

In Brussels, European Community foreign ministers agreed Monday to speed up negotiations for a free-trade accord with Russia to demonstrate their support for Mr. Yeltsin.

The EC also will try to bring forward a planned trade summit with Mr. Yeltsin in Moscow, the ministers agreed at a scheduled meeting that was completely overshadowed by the dramatic events unfolding in Moscow.

The turmoil apparently had no impact on flights in and out of Moscow.

Nikolai Mochnov, U.S. general manager for Aeroflot Russian Airlines, said it had encountered no delays.

"We operate our flights according to schedule. Everything is OK," he said.

Delta Air Lines, the only U.S. carrier with service to Moscow, said its flights also had not been affected.

But Geoff Bridges, president of Air Russia, a joint venture carrier that hopes to begin flying next year, expressed concern about the impact on its prospects for obtaining financing.

"We need a settled period in Russia for the banks to come up with the money," he said in a telephone interview from London. "We're hoping this present situation is only a blip and that we'll be faced with a settled government early next year."

British Airways owns one-third of Air Russia, while Aeroflot and other Russian interests own the other two-thirds.

As dusk fell in Moscow following the 10-hour main assault, sniper fire still crackled from the upper floors of the legislature, apparently the death rattle of the worst unrest in the city since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Dmitri Rurikov, a Yeltsin aide, said the two main leaders of the revolt, Parliament Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov and Vice President Alexander Rutskoi, had been taken into custody.

The showdown between Mr. Yeltsin and his opponents was triggered two weeks ago when Mr. Yeltsin announced he was disbanding Parliament, dominated by former Communist officials, after months of trying in vain to pass his plans for market-oriented economic reforms.

Public dissatisfaction with the effects of those reforms - skyrocketing inflation, continued food shortages and unemployment - fed the revolt but in the end proved too weak to spark a major uprising against the Russian president.

Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, R-Kan., suggested Monday that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank's "shock therapy" of tight monetary policy and rapid cuts in budget deficits might have helped spark unrest in Russia.

"We need to take a look at whether the World Bank's and the IMF's shock therapy works, or whether it may be part of the problem," said Mr. Dole, whose state would benefit from added grain export lending for Russia.

The United States has played a key role in bolstering Mr. Yeltsin and his reform plan, restructuring Russia's debts, maintaining the flow of food aid and providing technical assistance to assist the painful transition to a market economy. Within the last week, the United States signed a new loan restructuring agreement with Russia and eliminated import tariffs for a wide range of potential imports from Russia.

Russia must pay $140 million in overdue interest on its debt by the end of October under the plan, which calls for payments equal to this amount in November and December. Additional credit to pay for shipments of American grain are conditional on these three payments, according to a U.S. Agriculture Department official.

Commercial relations between the United States and Russia - until recently restricted by a virtual embargo on Russian exports to the United States - are still weak, as foreign investors have remained wary of the country's political fate.

The United States has lifted Cold War restrictions on Russian products and last week acted to add Russia to a foreign aid program that allows developing countries to ship certain products to the United States duty free.



Congress recently passed a $2.5 billion package to pay for aid President Clinton promised to Russia at the economic summit in Tokyo earlier this year. The $2.5 billion is not just for Russia, but also for the other countries of the former Soviet Union. Ukraine is to get at least $300 million; Armenia at least $18 million. Congress put few requirements on how the money should be allocated within Russia, but did make a few suggestions:

Vaccines, medicines and food assistance: $239 million

Privatization projects: $125 million

Private sector development: $894 million

Purchase of American food products: $50 million

Energy sector, to make nuclear facilities safer $285 million

Available through the Export-Import Bank $300 million

Scientific and engineering exchanges between

the U.S. and Russia $35 million


This fiscal 1994 funding is in addition to the $1.6 billion passed last year by Congress and redirected by Clinton in fiscal 1993 aid to Russia:

Agricultural credits $700 million

Direct grants $690 million

Other aid $230 million

(Source: Knight-Ridder Tribune)