The main task for the Russian Federal Assembly during this fall session isto consider and approve the 2003 federal budget, President of the RussianFederation Vladimir Putin declared at a meeting with Chairman of theFederation Council Sergey Mironov and Chairman of the State Duma GennadySeleznyov today. The President stressed that a preliminary discussion ofthe budget by the government and deputies would be a good basis for furthersteps. "There should be no rush, when working on a budget, he added. InPutin's opinion, if all procedures with the budget are completed by the NewYear, "this will create favorable conditions for the development of theeconomy and the social sphere." Commenting on the 2003 budget, the President of Russia pointed to positivechanges. In particular, he specially pointed out a 35 percent increase infinancing science, culture (37 percent), education (23.5 percent) andhealth (23 percent). Putin drew Mironov's and Seleznyov's attention toother important bills, such as a bill on reforms in the electricalindustry, as well as to activities within the 'Children of Russia'presidential program and the struggle against child homelessness as itspart..
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