Source Pravda.Ru

Administrative Split Up Under Way, Russian Economy Keeps Growing

'Federal Regions can become larger only once the division between the federal and regional has been clearly determined,' Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko told the members of the Club of regional journalists today. 'The budget reform has been under way since 1998, but we are just approaching the most important issue of separating the federal budget from regional ones. We have worked quite a lot to make it clear how federal-to-regional allocations are calculated. Now we need to decide on what the federal responsibilities in every region are and what should be taken care of locally. Once that is clear, we will decide on the sources of funds for each of those obligations.' The Deputy Prime Minister also mentioned that head of President's Administration Dmitry Kozak chaired the committee responsible for working out guidelines that would regulate this administrative split up. 'Only after we are clear about this can we begin changing the administrative map of Russia and making the regions larger. Otherwise it would be nothing more than economically unfounded political fiction,' Khristenko added. 'Russia's economic growth today depends on her internal, rather than external, market,' the Deputy Prime Minister continued, 'the key factors for economic growth are fundamentally different today. The effects of the 1998 devaluation have worn off. Today we are not that dependent on the external market anymore. I wouldn't even say that Russian economy directly depends on world oil prices.' In Khristenko's opinion, the economic growth is related to national demand for products and services and to the amount of money invested in production. He further stressed that it was exactly this factor of being internally dependent that opens up new possibilities for stimulating the Russian market. The Club of regional journalists was created summer 2001. Irina Yasina currently heads the project. The Club regularly organises seminars for regional journalists with top executive and representative authorities as speakers. According to Yasina, the seminars are aimed at providing regional journalists with an opportunity to obtain first-hand information concerning the government's short-term and middle-term policies.