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Russia: State Duma Postpones Budget Vote

Moscow, 6 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - After a heated debate, Russia's State Duma decided today to postpone until next week a vote on a new draft 1997 budget. The communists and other opposition factions heavily criticized the draft, a revised version of a previous draft already rejected by the Duma in October.

By the end of the day, however, opponents of the budget seemed to have run out of steam and voted 331 to 29 to support a proposal to delay the vote made by ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

The draft, presented today by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in the presence of his whole cabinet, was finalized last month by a joint conciliation commission of lawmakers and government officials.

Projected revenue in it was set at 399 trillion roubles ($73 billion) -- five percent lower than in the first rejected draft. Expenditure was also set nearly five percent lower, at 495 trillion roubles (over $90 billion). The Duma's budget committee however recommended on Monday that the new revised version also be rejected.

The vote on the draft budget was postponed until December 15.