At today's meeting the Russian government has approved the basic parameters of the budget for 2004 and for the next three years, Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin told journalists commenting on the results of this meeting.
According to him, the 2004 budget envisages a 2-percent drop in the value-added tax, which will result in a decrease in revenues of the consolidated budget from 34 percent of the GDP in 2003 to 33.5 percent in 2004.
The minister also noted that the priority of the 2004 budget is national defense and law enforcement with a planned financing totaling 716bn rubles ($23.3bn). Some 465bn rubles ($15.1bn) will be allocated to the social sphere and sciences.
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.'