The Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) has begun discussing the draft federal budget for 2002. RIA Novosti reports that submitting the document for consideration of the Federation Council, chairman of the budget committee of the upper house and governor of the Samara region, Konstantin Titov declared that the government achieved certain successes in the economic stabilisation. "A stable growth of the gross domestic product accompanied by positive tendencies has been registered over the past three years," Titov said. He also pointed out that in 2001 the cabinet of ministers formed a deficit-free budget and that a planned surplus budget was drafted for 2002. Titov stressed that the current federal budget should be "protected against the world prices of export goods to the maximum." He believes that less influence of the external factors on demand stipulated by the submitted law is its positive feature. "There are real prerequisites in the economy for ridding it of dependence on oil," he concluded.