Monday, August 17, 1998 Published at 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Panic as rouble slides
The rouble nosedived in early trading on Monday
President Boris Yeltsin has been holding talks in Moscow with his Prime Minister and officials after Russia gave up its fight to defend the value of the rouble.
The surprise move triggered panic currency buying in Moscow. Foreign exchange offices ran out of dollars as Russians formed long queues.
The president's economic adviser also resigned.
The government has also imposed a 90-day moratorium on repayment of foreign debt. Meanwhile, an International Monetary Fund delegation is paying an emergency visit.
Mr Yeltsin's economic adviser, Alexander Livshits, said he bore partial responsibility as he submitted his resignation.
The Duma has been delaying proposed government austerity measures, with the Communist group - which holds the majority in the chamber - warning that it could cause social unrest.
'Not a devaluation'
Mr Kiriyenko said both moves were necessary to restore financial stability and protect the Russian people.
Moscow correspondent Robert Parsons says success may hinge on whether Mr Kiriyenko can convince the country that the government is in control.
But the correspondent says first reactions are not encouraging. Dozens of exchange points all over Moscow have run out of dollars as people rush to trade in their roubles.
In Europe, the German mark similarly fell in value against the dollar, in what economists described as a knee-jerk reaction.
German banks - Russia's largest creditors - have lost between two and three percent of their share values.
Other shares were also down at the Frankfurt stock exchange. But Chancellor Kohl said his government would continue to work to help Russia out of the crisis.
There were smaller losses in Paris, and in London the financial markets were said to be extremely volatile.