Mikhail Kasyanov has held this year's last but one government session.
The last session is due next week, on Thursday, December 26th.
When speaking before the government, the prime minister said that the "payment peak" problem in 2003 had been almost fully resolved. His confidence was caused by the balanced 2003 budget, as well as by the recent measures in the privatization sphere, as the sale of LUKOIL and Slavneft state-owned stock which would ensure the stability of the financial reserve, Kasyanov explained.
Accordingly, the financial reserve will ensure half of the foreign debt repayment in 2003, the prime minister pointed out.
"We are entering 2003 with a clear financial plan, financial policy and a fairly stable stand," he said.
Kasyanov congratulated the ministers on the completed work on the draft 2003 federal budget and thanked all heads of ministries and departments.
Next year the Cabinet will focus on the development of the processing industry, the prime minister said.
Moreover, the government is facing a task of commissioning contracts for enterprises working for the state defense industry, Kasyanov emphasized. He also spoke in favour of supporting the export of the defence and machine-building production. This issue will be considered at the beginning of the next year, he added.
In the first months of 2003 the Russian government will discuss measures to support small businesses and the administrative reform in the country, the prime minister pointed out.
Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on remarks in the US media about failures in launching nuclear-capable missiles in Russia
The Buk system that shot down MH17 belonged to the 53rd SAM missile brigade of the Russian Ministry of Defense, investigators say after looking at a few pictures on the net
It has long been understood that the West has been trying to subject Russian borders to total control. We have not seen such activity even during the Cold War