The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, will give the2003 budget draft its first reading on September 25, Alexander Zhukov,chairman of the Duma committee for budget and taxes, reported tojournalists today. He noted the corresponding decision had been made at ameeting of the Duma Council today. Zhukov stressed that the main budgetparameters had been discussed and amended before the first reading, so thefirst official budget discussion would probably be not very acute.The State Duma will consider the budget on the second reading on October18. The parliamentary official forecasted that the discussion would befocused on the redistribution of budget expenditures between budget items.However, the basic parameters, such as the total volume of expenditures andrevenues, are not expected to arouse serious disagreement, Zhukovstressed..
Representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation commented on the state of affairs in the Sea of Azov
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club that Russia will never initiate military actions, including with the use of nuclear weapons