Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a meeting with Communications Minister Leonid Reiman, raised the problem of renewing Russia's space satellite grouping.
According to Reiman, a state programme for the development of a satellite communication system adopted in 2000 is running to schedule. Out of the nine spacecraft planned for orbiting, three Express series have been launched.
The entire programme is to be fully implemented before 2005, Reiman noted. According to him, due to some emergencies, in particular the failure of the Ekran satellite, Russia had to orbit an additional two other spacecraft, which, though not new and taken out of the mothballs, are fit for service.
The Russian head of state also wanted to know more about the progress in the fulfilment of the programme to provide schools with computers. The minister said that out of 68,000 Russian schools scheduled to be fitted with computers 10,000 to 12,000 of them will receive computers this year. Reiman noted that in regions where telephone communications can be organised, the process is faster, while more difficult-to-reach places are to be provided with satellite communications via Russian spacecraft.
Other subjects discussed also included preparations for a world forum on information technologies, which is expected to be held under UN aegis in 2003-2005.
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