The main task of the State Duma for 2002 will be to legislatively support the reform of federal natural monopolies, leader of the Unity pro-government faction in the lower house of parliament Vladimir Pekhtin told journalists on Thursday. "Next year we will thoroughly discuss the reform of the federal railway transport, power engineering and the state insurance control," he said. Pekhtin also reported that the Russian president is going to submit a draft law on the reform of local self-government for consideration by the State Duma spring session. According to Vladimir Pekhtin, the State Duma will consider in 2002 the federal law on the state regulation and specific features of agricultural lands' purchase and sale. The deputy pointed out that "having approved the Land Code we made only the first step in streamlining land relations, the most difficult issue for Russia." Pekhtin stressed that the Unity faction will continue contributing to the liberalisation of the country's economy. He believes that the point at issue is not the number of laws to be considered but their importance for the policy pursued under the leadership of the Russian president.
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