A federal budget surplus of up to 1.3-1.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected in the first half of 2002, Vice-Premier and Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation Alexei Kudrin stated speaking at the conference "Russia: Reforms and Economic Growth." He stressed that in the budget policy of the past few years, a stable budget surplus was ensured. "We are capable of ensuring stable economic processes even in conditions of reduction of the prices of oil and other export resources of Russia," Alexei Kudrin said. "Next year, which will be the year of the peak of Russia's foreign debt payments, we will manage to maintain a balanced budget, and its surplus must make up 0.8 per cent of the GDP," the Vice-Premier stated. This means that all social obligations will be fulfilled, too.
Kudrin also noted that at the present time domestic factors had started to play an important role in the economic growth.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election