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Russia: Duma Debates Proposed Spending Cuts

Moscow, 11 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's State Duma today began debating a government proposal to slash expenditures by 108 trillion rubles ($ 19 billion) to end Russia's deep financial crisis.

First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov introduced the budget-cutting bill. He said that even after the cuts, the government will be able to pay overdue wages, as well as pensions and welfare allowances.

Communist Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin, who heads the Duma's powerful Security Committee, presented his own rival bill. The bill calls for the Central Bank to print 330 trillion rubles ($ 60 billion) of additional money to cover revenue shortfalls.

Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin attacked the plan. He said printing so much additional money would, in his words, "destroy Russia's market economy."

The Duma ended the day without voting on the proposals. Legislators decided to create a commission to further debate the bills.