Russian President Vladimir Putin, during his meeting with vice-premier Galina Karelova, wanted to know what the government was doing to support motherhood and child care.
"Since January 1, 2003 all maternity and birth allowances have been raised: one-off birth grants were increased by 200 per cent and maternity grants by 150 per cent," the vice-premier said.
Karelova pointed to a steady reduction in the maternal death rate in Russia.
The government attempted, the vice-premier said, to gauge the financial capabilities of the entire system of child care and maternity support. "In 2004, their size in the social insurance fund will be set at 27 billion roubles (0.9 billion US dollars)". A total of 22 billion roubles will be allocated for monthly children's allowances. In that way, federally paid child grants alone will amount to more than 50 billion roubles, the vice-premier emphasised.
The government has drawn on additional sources of financing, including the obligatory health insurance fund, Karelova said.
"We should use shock therapy to sober up the Americans. In this case, the Americans will speak about the need to resume dialogue. There is no other option"
The United States is concerned about the current crisis in the relations with Russia and suggests returning to reasonable policies to avoid a nuclear war