Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 205

The Conciliatory Commission on the Russian 1997 federal budget, made up of representatives from the legislative and executive branches, has yet to reach a consensus. After its first meeting on October 30, Russian finance minister Aleksandr Livshits told reporters that the government is ready to introduce some changes in its proposals and that a slight increase in the budget deficit would be acceptable.(Russian Business TV, October 31) But Mikhail Zadornov, chairman of the Duma’s budget committee, criticized the government for failing to include the Duma’s recommendations in the revised budget. He also said that the budget deficit should be increased from the current proposed level of 3.3 percent of GDP to 3.5 percent. The deputy chairman of the budget committee, Gennady Kulik, urged a greater increase in the deficit, to 4.5-5 percent of GDP. (Interfax, 30 October)

The chairman of the Duma Committee for Economic Policy, Yuri Maslyukov, charged that the government’s draft budget does not meet conditions for economic growth. He proposed that a budget should be approved only for the first quarter, during which time work should continue on a 3-year program of budget reform. (Russian Business TV, October 31) Livshits dismissed that proposal and warned that it could have negative affects on financial markets. (Interfax, October 30) According to Duma speaker Gennady Seleznev, the commission will conclude its work in 4-5 sessions with the signing of a joint protocol. Matters that elude consensus will then be discussed in the Duma.(Russian Business TV, October 31) The conciliatory commission did agree during talks yesterday on the introduction in 1997 of a new tax on transactions in securities. (Interfax, October 31)

Yet Another Assurance from Belarus on Strategic Missiles.