The cancellation of sales tax from January 1, 2004, will bring a loss of USD 720 million to the regional budgets. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced by Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin today in the State Duma. He said that 36% of sales tax is taken in Moscow, 10% in the Moscow Region and 8% in Saint Petersburg. The Russian government is planning to set up a special fund with USD 350-500 million to support the regions, which suffer most as a result of tax reforms, Mr Kudrin said. As a result of this, the regions will be able to re-establish their current incomes within the next year or two, said the minister.
Following the summit in Riga on November 30, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained how the alliance could respond to Russia's 'new aggression against Ukraine.'