Despite all public apprehensions, a shift from welfare privileges in kind to monetary compensations will improve beneficiaries' situation, said Speaker Boris Gryzlov of the State Duma. Leader of the political party, United Russia, which holds an overwhelming parliamentary majority, he was addressing debates on a related bill in parliament's lower house.
The United Russia group is determined to vote for the bill concept in its initial reading vote. The group is ready with a sizeable stock of amendments to offer to second-reading debates.
The group and the federal Cabinet have come to an accord on certain items, and many remain under discussion. Mr. Gryzlov called for explanatory work with the public, in media outlets and elsewhere, about what underlies the highly controversial bill, and what it is likely to bring.
The Speaker is sure the federal purse will cope with monetary compensations-the government has stored enough for the purpose, as far as he knows.
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems
Russia is to start supplying S-300 air defence systems to Syria in the near future. The shipments will be conducted free of charge