Russia's grain sales forecast for 2002 is 5 million tons, announced Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeev at a governmental committee session yesterday. According to the department of governmental information, the minister speculated about grain soon becoming one of Russia's main exports. He pointed out that by August this year the government, in cooperation with some of Russia's leading companies and state institutions, is likely to have already worked out the export strategy. The minister also informed that the committee had looked into the financial needs of the agriculture industry. He especially stressed the necessity of reaching an agreement on the issue, considering that the State Duma had already approved in the first hearing a document related to reforming the industry both structurally and financially. Alexei Gordeev noted that any changes to the bill should be submitted before mid-May for the second Duma hearing.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23