The Russian government is going to cancel the 1 per cent tax for the usage of roads in 2003 and a 5 per cent sales tax in 2004, Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin announced in an exclusive interview with RBC. He gave this interview after he spoke at the Russian-Italian economic council and announced the government's plans on further reduction in the tax burden. Kudrin announced at the council's meeting that one half of Russian banks will face reorganization, liquidation, or an increase in their capitalization by 2004. In addition, according to the strategy for the development of the banking sector signed by the government and the Central Bank, authorities are going to increase requirements to the capital liquidity of Russian banks and set the minimal volume of equity at 5 million euros.
Alexey Navalny returned to Russia on January 17. He was detained upon arrival at the Sheremetyevo Airport. A court arrested Navalny for 30 days