Inflation reached 1.2 per cent in the first two weeks of this year in Russia, the State Statistics Committee reported. Experts are concerned about this data, especially taking into account the fact that almost all these first 14 days were non-working. If this inflation growth continues throughout the whole year, it will reach 33 per cent, or three times as much as forecasted. As reported earlier, the Russian government decided to make another attempt to restrain price growth in 2002 and hold inflation within 12 or 14 per cent. However, these plans become less and less realistic each day. Russian natural monopolies will contribute their bit to the consumer price index growth this year by rising tariffs by up to 35 per cent. In addition, in 2002 Russia will allocate about $14bn in foreign debt repayments. This dismal situation is aggravated by falling prices for oil exported from Russia, which already dropped to $17 per barrel, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia