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Russia: Interior Minister Sums Up Results of 1996

Moscow, 2 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov says he is not satisfied with the work of his ministry last year.

Interfax quotes Kulikov as saying that although the crime rate in Russia has gone down, there are "no reasons for complacency."

Kulikov said also that the number of Russian citizens who trust the police has risen to 38 percent from 25 percent in 1995.

Fictitious Bankruptcy Called A Crime Under New Penal Code

Under Russia's new penal code which went into effect yesterday, deliberate or fictitious bankruptcy is considered a crime punishable by fines ranging from 500 to 800 times the minimum wage or up to six years' imprisonment.

Interfax reports that under the new code, false declaration of insolvency with the aim of deferring debt repayment also carries a prison term of up to six years. Concealing the property of a debtor enterprise or falsifying its accounts carries a prison term of up to two years.

Under Russia's former penal code, executives were only dimissed from their job for such offenses.

Population Decreases By Almost Half Million

Russia's State Statistics Committee says that from January to November last year the Russian population decreased by 430,000 and in the beginning of December it totalled 147.5 million people.

Interfax quotes the Committee as also saying that the death rate and the birth rate last year fell compared to 1995, but the number of deaths still exceeded the number of births by more than 600,000. It said the situation is most critical in central Russia, where the birth rate is particularly low but the death rate is the highest.