MEETING OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT

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MEETING OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT

ORT, Novosti, November 4, 1999, 12:00

Today a meeting of the Russian government was held in the White House. The Finance Ministry submitted to the Cabinet a report on fulfillment of the federal budget for the past nine months. The agenda of the meeting included 18 questions. Prime Minister Putin spoke about negative trends in the development of the Russian economy, namely low investment activity which can be, to some extent, accounted for by the upcoming elections; the virtually frozen securities market; low purchasing power of the population, and low incomes of the population. At the same time, he emphasized that Russia has favorable macro-economic indicators.

Vladimir Putin: First of all, I want to stress that macroeconomic indicators in Russia are really promising. We have managed to achieve an increase in industrial production. Inflation is declining. The situation on the hard currency market is under control. We have obtained additional revenues which can be used for anti-terrorist operations in the Caucasus and social needs as well.

Putin asked Konstantin Totsky, Director of the Federal Border Guard Service, about the situation at the Russian-Georgian border.

Putin: We must immediately begin negotiations with Georgia and Azerbaijan in regard to possibly introducing visa requirments between our countries, so that this damage neither our political relations nor certain people who are interested in cooperation between our states. I think that, for the moment, we should discuss only a temporary introduction of such requirements until anti-terrorist operations in the North Caucasus are finished.

VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR GEORGIA AND AZERBAIJAN

ORT, Novosti, November 4, 1999, 15:00

The finance minister’s report on the amount of money received and spent by the federal budget in the course of the past nine months was the main subject of the government meeting held today. The Chechen situation was also touched upon. The question of where to obtain money to continue the military operation in Chechnya is the most vital at present. The Defense Ministry needs money which is not stipulated by the budget. Vladimir Putin promised to obtain money. He stated that a certain increase in industrial production is being observed, the situation on the hard currency market is stabilized, and the Russian budget is receiving additional revenues. They can be used for the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya. The prime minister also said that, according to his information, mercenaries from Afghanistan intend to penetrate Chechnya through Georgia and Azerbaijan. Therefore, the government insists that visa requirements be temporarily introduced on this border. This sensational statement was accounted for by the alleged disinclination of Georgia to help Russia fight terrorism.

Putin: Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze decided that a section of Russian-Georgian border adjacent to Chechnya should be closed. The defense minister of Russia and director of the Federal Border Guard Service are to visit Tbilisi in order to conduct negotiations on implementing this decision.

TAX DEBTS HAVE INCREASED

TVC, Sobytia, November 4, 1999, 14:00

The question of fulfillment of the federal budget for the past nine months was the main item on the agenda of the meeting of the Russian government today. The meeting was chaired by Vladimir Putin.

Prior to the meeting, it was announced that military actions in the North Caucasus are not leading to excessive expenditures. Minister of Finance Mikhail Kasianov submitted more precise information to those present. Following the meeting he informed journalists that the budget is being successfully fulfilled, thanks to inflation, first and foremost.

Mikhail Kasianov: There are certain factors which contribute to collection of taxes and this is inflation, first and foremost. This factor is important, because we cannot help noticing that debts of tax-payers to the budget have increased, despite growth of their income. We must do our best to effectively fight this disease of the economy.

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