There are very many unsolved problems in Russia, but the movement in the right direction can be clearly seen. This gives a certain confidence in the correctness of what we are doing, said Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview he gave to the London Financial Times in the runup to his visit to Great Britain which is scheduled for December 21-22. "We do not ask to write off our debts, we are paying them," to the International Monetary Fund - even before the expiration of the date, pointed out the President. We are developing market institutions and are striving to enter the World Trade Organisation, "we are very actively carrying out economic reforms," and have paid the main debts to the population. The real incomes of the pensioners have gone up by 22 percent, the wages - approximately by 19 percent, the real per capita incomes - by 6.5 - 7 percent. The growth of the Gross Domestic Product this year will amount to 5.7 percent, said Vladimir Putin. This year, continued the President, investments, both internal and foreign, were considerably increasing - with foreign investments growing more rapidly. But in order to make our economy more attractive, much yet have to be done, underscored President Vladimir Putin. With this aim in view we have envisaged a whole package of measures. We shall continue our persistent and liberal tax policy. The income tax in our country is the lowest in Europe - only 13 percent, the profit tax will be 24 percent. "We have practically brought to nought the sales tax and the turnover tax, have taken a number of measures for de-bureaucratisation and liberalisation of the economy. The number of types of the activity to be licensed have decreased from 2,000 to slightly more than 100," pointed out the President. We have just adopted a package of laws on the judicial reform, are adopting a new labour legislation and have adopted a land legislation. All this has to start working next year, noted Vladimir Putin. But we shall not stop at this, continued the President, we are working out further measures to make our economy more dynamic and efficient. These measures include restructuring, also in the sphere of natural monopolies. "All this taken together, if it is really put into practice, can make our economy more attractive," emphasised Vladimir Putin.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea