PUTIN GIVES HIS BLESSING TO ALTERNATIVE SERVICE

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PUTIN GIVES HIS BLESSING TO ALTERNATIVE SERVICE

Izvestia, July 23, 2003, p. 3 EV

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the organization of alternative civilian service, effective from January 1, 2004. Civilian alternatives to military service will be managed by the Labor Ministry and the Defense Ministry. The following categories of citizens will have the right to undertake alternative service instead of conscription: if military service is contrary to their beliefs or religion; if they are members of a native ethnic minority group leading a traditional way of life and pursuing traditional occupations.

THE GOVERNMENT WILL PROVIDE MONEY FOR EXPORTERS

Izvestia, July 23, 2003, p. 5 EV

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov has met with some Cabinet ministers to discuss progress on the draft budget for 2004 and preparations for the next Cabinet meeting. Due to Kasianov’s imminent visit to Novosibirsk, the Cabinet meeting will be held on Tuesday July 22 rather than Thursday. The agenda includes analyzing negotiations about Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and the state support program for exporters of processed goods. According to our sources, both issues will be discussed behind closed doors. The Cabinet will compile some recommendations for the WTO negotiation team headed by Deputy Economic Development Minister Maxim Medvedkov; it will also decide how much state funding should be allocated next year for export loan guarantees. The Economic Development Ministry and Deputy Prime Minister Boris Aleshin are insisting on $500 million. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin proposes restricting this to $400 million.

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