The Russian economy kept growing steadily last year, remaining the locomotive of the CIS countries' development. This is the opinion voiced by the authors of an annual report of the European Economic Commission distributed the day before in Geneva. The document particularly notes Russia's successful economic development for the last four years. In the conditions of a noticeable decline in the world economy, Russia's annual growth rate exceeded 5% on the average, which "stimulated the growth of internal demand and contributed to the strengthening of public confidence and stability in the country." UN experts think Russia was able to make use of both the ruble's devaluation process and high oil prices in the interests of its economy. They note an increasing positive influence of the intensification of Russian reforms, particularly last year. The adoption of laws concerning such important spheres as taxation, land tenure, labor relations, commerce and finances, in their opinion, led to a substantial reduction of the state regulation in the economy. The European Economic Commission's report states that the process of the reforms is irreversible and the Russian economy has acquired market economy features. The experts forecast the economic growth rate at 4-5% this year.
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