Vice-premier of the Russian government Valentina Matviyenko positively assesses the results of the outgoing year. According to her, the past months saw the industrial production growth in Russia by 5.5 percent, investments increased by 8 percent and the gross domestic product grew by 5.5 percent. Matviyenko noted that machine-building, chemical and food industries take the lead among other industrial branches. Growth has been registered in all processing branches and agriculture (a record high yield of grain - 83 million tonnes - was harvested in 2001). Thus, Russia is capable not only to provide itself with grain, but also to export it, the vice-premier stressed. Matviyenko also noted that tax receipts had increased dramatically. Specifically, according to the government's forecasts, in 2001 the volume of additionally levied taxes will increase by 300 billion roubles. Russia's gold and currency reserves grew by 20 billion roubles. The growth rate in real wages constitutes 20 percent, real household incomes increased 6.5 percent, the number of unemployed dropped by 0.9 percent, and pensions augmented by 40 percent. Wages of state employees have been increased substantially since December 1, 2001. Therefore, consumer expenditures have also risen in Russia. Thus, summing up the year's results, Matviyenko stressed that positive trends in Russia's economic growth observed over the past two years had been preserved and would be maintained next year.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia