Russia, according to 2000 and 2001 results, ranks among twenty countries with best economic performance, said presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov on Monday, at the opening in Moscow of a visiting session of the Davos Economic Forum. The Kremlin spokesman emphasised that the country's current macro-economic developments are positive. According to him, inflation will not exceed the projected level of 18-20 per cent by the year's end, the country boasts a stable rouble exchange rate and high hard currency reserves amounting to 39 billion dollars, while average GDP growth over the past few years gas been 6.4 per cent. The presidential adviser also noted that real consumption in the country has for the moment not only reached levels seen before the 1998 financial crisis, but also exceeded them. Private businesses are developing intensively. On the whole, according to Illarionov, the country's economy is robust and healthy today. The next stage will be Russia's switchover from a developed economy to a mature market economy, Putin's advisor said.
Selim Bensaad, the great-grandson of Joseph Stalin, wrote an open letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In the letter, Bensaad pointed out the need to dissolve the United Nations