State Duma Centrist factions (Fatherland-All Russia, Yedinstvo (Unity),Regions of Russia and People's Deputy) insist on changes in the 2003 budgetdraft regarding support to the real sector of the economy and improvementof the life standard, in the first place for state employees, pensionersand military men. These demands were voiced by Senior Deputy head of theFatherland-All Russia faction Konstantin Kosachev at a meeting withjournalists today.The parliamentarian recalled that Duma deputies held a preliminarydiscussion of the 2003 budget draft before the summer vacation. The leadersof the Duma centrist factions, centrist representatives in related Dumacommittees and government officials took part in this meeting. According toKosachev, the four centrist factions managed to insist on a rise inallocations in a number budget items. He specified that the financing ofthe road industry would be increased by more than 4bn rubles ($127m). Inaddition, the fund of regional development will receive an additional 1.8bnrubles ($57m). Budget expenditures for support to the agricultural sectorwill go up 6bn rubles ($190m) and allocations for the reconstruction anddemolition of old buildings will be increased by more than 1bn rubles($32m). Moreover, for the first time, allocations for support to the youthwill be budgeted in a separate item worth more than 500m rubles ($15.84m).The official stressed that these changes would be included to the draftbudget before its introduction to the State Duma on August 26, 2002.According to Kosachev, the final position of the centrist factions whilevoting on the budget draft will depend on their dialogue with the Cabinetduring the elaboration on budget parameters in the State Duma. In addition,the Fatherland-All Russia faction is going to discuss its position on thebudget draft at a special meeting to be held on August 27. He noted thatFinance Minister Alexey Kudrin was invited to participate in this meeting..
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969