Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has noted negative trends in the Russian defense-industrial complex. At a cabinet sitting which considered a programme for the development of the national defense-industrial complex until 2006, the prime minister reported that its rate of growth was only four percent in 2001.
Kasyanov thinks that a low load on its industrial capacities is the main problem of this sector. "The defense-industrial complex must be put on the efficient rails. An untiring attention of the government to this problem stresses the importance of this sphere", said Kasyanov. He also noted that enterprises of this sector employ over two million workers and 50 percent of these enterprises have been reoriented during conversion to the output of non-military products.
The premier hopes that at this sitting the cabinet is to develop a permanent monitoring mechanism so as "capacities of the defense sector work both for meeting its own needs and for the production of civilian high-quality commodities by using the tremendous scientific potential accumulated by the sector".
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