Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Failure of Soviet Coup May Renew Investor Confidence

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Failure of Soviet Coup May Renew Investor Confidence

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ The failure of the Soviet coup may renew confidence among corporations considering investments there and prompt Western nations to increase economic aid to the troubled nation, experts said Wednesday.

"I think the Soviet Union just passed a test of democracy," said Roger E. Brinner, chief economist at the forecasting firm DRI-McGraw-Hill

"Everyone had always feared there would be a coup attempt. I think this coup failed much more rapidly than anyone had feared would be the case," Brinner said.

Several companies that have sunk money into the Soviet Union said they weren't fazed by the events of the past few days and believe they might lead to greater economic reform.

"I have a lot of confidence that good will happen from this," said Aileen Exeter, a vice president of MBL International, a ComputerLand franchisee that has built five ComputerLand stores in the Soviet Union.

She said her company is proceeding with plans for two more stores there by the end of the year.

U S West, the regional phone company that is building a cellular phone system in Moscow, also does not believe the coup attempt will disrupt its business.

Stan Cramton, a U S West vice president who heads its Soviet operations, said in a telephone interview from Moscow that he continued to negotiate with suppliers while demonstrations were taking place outside his hotel.

"We're hoping that what happened in the past couple of days will be put behind us quickly," Cramton said. "We have a great deal of faith in this country and our assessment of the people we are going to be dealing with."

Economist Sean O'Neill of WEFA Group, another economic forecasting firm, agreed the coup attempt could speed economic reform.

"The Soviet Union is a different country today than it was last week, even with Gorbachev back in power," O'Neill said.

He said the fact that Russian President Boris Yeltsin was instrumental in toppling the coup may mean he will have a stronger hand in the nation's government. That could lead to faster economic liberalization, which he has promoted.

A more reform-minded government could prompt more Western economic assistance, O'Neill added. …

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