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Vladimir Putin discussed with deputies of the Yabloko faction Russias economic development strategy. The next meeting is scheduled for the beginning of February 2001

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26.12.2000

On December 25, 2000 a meeting was held between the President of the RF Vladimir Putin and the Chairman of the Yabloko Association and the head of the Yabloko faction in the State Duma, Grigory Yavlinsky.

The Secretaries of the Yabloko Association, deputies of the State Duma Sergei Ivanenko, Igor Artemyev, Sergei Mitrokhin and deputies of the Yabloko faction Alexei Arbatov and Alexei Mikhailov also participated in the meeting.

Agreement on this meeting between the President and deputies of the Yabloko faction was reached during a meeting of Putin and Yavlinsky on December 5, 2000.

The meeting began at 5 p.m. and lasted about three and a half hours.

After the meeting Yavlinsky reported that they had discussed the issues related to the countrys economic development strategy, military reform and transfer to a contract-based army, legal and judicial reform, municipal reform and consolidation of the financial base of local government.

As is well-known, a number of Yablokos proposals and developments have already been implemented by the executive authorities. In particular, the budget for 2001, passed by two-thirds of the deputies, replicates the Yablokos alternative budget for 2000 developed by Yablokos experts headed by Artemyev. About 90% of innovations in taxation, including the most significant reduction of income tax to 13% and introduction of a regressive scale of taxation for social deductions from the wage fund were borrowed from Yablokos programme of proposals.

During the discussion of the draft federal budget for 2001, the Yabloko faction managed to ensure that an additional 30 bln roubles (unrelated to oil prices) were included in the revenue side of the budget; 12.6 bln roubles were allotted to an increase in military expenses, which should facilitate military reforms.

The main innovation of 2000 in state building federative reform coincides in many aspects with the old programme provisions of Yabloko.

At the same time Yablokos representatives often criticised the rates and methods used to implement these initiatives. Yablokos economists think that the government failed to exploit the favourable situation stimulated by high oil prices, and reduced everything to a discussion about economic growth, instead of undertaking all possible steps to establish its real base.

According to the author of Yablokos concept of military reforms Arbatov, it is necessary to considerably increase the funds allotted to military reform and set a clearer goal transfer of the army to a contract basis, which would imply elimination of conscription.

Yabloko thinks that consolidation of local government, which is the basis of the federative state, is a necessary continuation of federative reform.

However, according to Yavlinsky, special attention was paid during the meeting with the President to investments in Russias economy, including those connected with production-sharing agreements (PSA). Legislation on the PSA has been actively developed and promoted by Yabloko: currently Ivanenko heads a parliamentary commission of the PSA created on Yablokos initiative.

During the meeting with Putin plans for definite work on accelerated promotion of Yablokos proposals were made.

The next meeting is scheduled for the beginning of February 2001 and will be attended by the same people.

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