The Russian government pays prime attention to supporting small business and entrepreneurship, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov stated on Wednesday while speaking within the Government Hour in the State Duma (parliament's lower chamber). As the Prime-Minister noted, small business not only improves well-being and reduces unemployment in the country but also ensures a favourable psychological atmosphere. The government is ready to intensify measures in support of small entrepreneurship, specifically by removing administrative barriers, Kasyanov stated. According to him, much is being done to this end now. In particular, the State Duma approved a number of necessary laws, for instance, the law on registration of legal entities, which will come into force from July 1st. Mikhail Kasyanov also noted the considerable role of the regional and local authorities in support of small business. But now the regional authorities often make "the price of the entry of small business into the market exorbitant, non-competitive", the head of the government said. In this connection the Cabinet of Ministers is preparing necessary directions to the Anti-Trust Policy Ministry. Mikhail Kasyanov also noted that the government is ready to agree with the deputies' amendments to the government variant of a draft law on the taxation regime for small business, which will appreciably improve it.
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On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign