Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov cancelled the decision to raise tariffs on railway freight transportation by 14 percent since January 20. The head of government made such a statement to the press Wednesday. According to him, "the decision on raising tariffs on freight transportation has been postponed." At the same time, speaking about the increase in tariffs on passenger transportation by 30 percent Kasyanov stressed that this decision was taken in November 2001 and does not relate to the tariff-policy schedule of natural monopolies for this year. The premier noted that by the end of 2001 inclusive passengers paid 60 percent of the cost price of transportation services. A 30-percent rise in tariffs brought the cost price to 75 percent with the remainder 25 percent being paid by the government. As far as an increase in other tariffs for services provided by natural monopolies is concerned, Kasyanov said that in 2002 it would be done in two stages. The premier noted that the increase in tariffs for services provided by natural monopolies is slated for mid-February. Kasyanov stressed that the maximum level of tariff rise would not exceed 35 percent.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated