The Russian Finance Ministry plans to increase expenses on national defense and law enforcement by RUR65bn (about $2.12bn) in 2004, Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin said commenting on the main parameters of the medium-term budget policies. Additional sums will be allocated for transforming some divisions of the Russian armed forces from a conscript to a contract military service, the Minister pointed out. These measures will allow for decreasing the term of the draft military service to 1 year by 2008.
Moreover, expenses for education are going to be raised by RUR18bn ($587.47m), expenses for the court system by RUR7.6bn ($248.04m) and allocations for fundamental research by RUR6bn ($195.82m). Also, the government will continue to decrease non-interest expenses. Non-interest expenses of the federal budget will fall by 12.4 percent of the GDP in 2004, by 11.5 percent in 2005 and by 11.2 percent in 2006, Kudrin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin got the West worried again by signing Decree No. 915. The news did not produce any public effect in Russia