Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 217

Russian deputy prime minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha said on November 17 that Russia’s food and agricultural producers had strengthened their position in the domestic market. Production of cereals has increased, he said, as has output of a such food products as sugar, children’s food, margarine, and tobacco. Zaveryukha claimed that domestic producers are becoming increasingly responsive to market forces and more adept at working in a competitive environment. (Interfax, November 17)

Despite this rosy picture, however, the Russian government intends to implement new forms of state support for the agricultural and food sector. According to Minister of Agriculture Viktor Khlystun, a federal stabilization program for the agroindustrial complex in 1996-2000 has been adopted. It will channel some 10 trillion rubles into a fund for the concession of privileged credits, to be granted at a refinancing rate only 25 percent that of Russia’s Central Bank. The minister also demanded a better system of protections for domestic producers and a change in taxation for the agricultural sector. (Interfax, November 17) On November 14 Russian foreign trade minister Oleg Davydov said that Russian imports of sugar will be cut to 1.5 million tons per year, of which 1.15 will come from Ukraine. The introduction of such quotas is motivated by the desire to provide protection for domestic refineries and to give them time to increase their competitiveness, Davydov said. He added that the measure is provisional and that the quotas will be removed "after a while." (Itar-Tass, November 14)

Breakthrough Reported on Crimean Constitution.