At the Russian State Duma's plenary meeting on November 22 lawmakers will consider the 2003 budget draft on the third reading. As Chairman of the Duma's committee for budget and taxes Alexander Zhukov told reporters today, the budget draft for 2003 is ripe to be considered on the third reading, but the discussion will take a long time. Lower Chamber's Speaker Gennady Seleznyov told reporters Duma factions had taken their stance on budget vote. Chief of the People's Deputy Gennady Raikov stressed in an interview with journalists nobody had any doubts the bill would be adopted - factions had struck a deal on major budget articles. Raikov said, however, "there are still a number of controversies that need to be settled. If lawmakers fail to reach an agreement on several closed budget articles, tomorrow's debate at the plenary meeting will have to be staged behind closed doors".
Russia's Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, said that Moscow would treat any military intervention in the affairs of Belarus as an attack on Russia