Source Pravda.Ru

Referendum on united state of Russia and Belarus to cost Russia $100m

The referendum on the issue of uniting Russia and Belarus into a singlestate will cost Russia around RUR3.0-3.1bn (around $98.41m), Chairman ofthe Election Commission Alexander Veshnyakov said in an interview with theEcho of Moscow radio station. He pointed out Belarus would pay for its partof the referendum. Belarus has its own Constitution and other laws,including law on referendum, Veshnyakov pointed out. According to theChairman of the Election Commission, the scenario of uniting Russia andBelarus into a single state has a number of advantages before an idea of aunion based on the on the principles of the European Union. "There's agreat difference: in one case we have precise state governance mechanisms,rights and obligations of citizens, their protection, while in another casewe have a somewhat amorphous formation, which, as a rule, grows to become asingle state", Veshnyakov said. Speaking about elections in Chechnya, the head of the Election Commissionsaid the Constitution of the republic needed to be adopted before holdingelections. "I believe the only way of adopting the Constitution in Chechnyais a referendum", the official said. He thinks that the referendum can beheld only according to the President's decree, since Chechnya has no law onreferendum. According to the head of the Election Commission, thereferendum may be held at the end of this year - beginning of the next yearin Chechnya as the earliest. According to Veshnyakov, this referendum maybe held along with the State Duma elections in December 2003. .