The official dollar rate for June 17 was set at RUR30.46 down by RUR0.05 against the previous figure. The total dollar's fall came to RUR1.42, i.e. 5 percent, since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, the rapid strengthening of the ruble contradicts the growing inflation rate that totaled 7 percent since the beginning of 2003. If prices keep rising that fast, inflation will total 15 percent by the end of 2003. According to former Senior Deputy Chairman of the Russian Central Bank Alexander Khandruyev, a 15-percent inflation puts Russian citizens into a fix, as the ruble can no longer be the reliable means for savings.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.