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Russia: Massive Budget Cuts Considered

Moscow, 17 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais says Russia will have to undertake massive budgetary cutbacks to deal with a current economic crisis.

Chubais told the upper house of parliament today that the budget crisis is jeopardizing the functioning of the state and said it will be impossible to keep the present national budget without changes. He said government spending will have to be cut by at least $17.5 billion.

Chubais said tax collection in the first quarter of this year was only 57 percent of what the government had expected. As a result, he said the government deficit has increaed significantly.

Chubais' warning comes a day after the Federation Council voted to increase the minimum pensions to $14 a month. That will cost the government an extra $2 billion this year. The pension fund already owes Russians nearly $3 billion in unpaid pensions.

First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov is to address the Federation Council later today.