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Russia: Duma Postpones Debate On Budget Cuts

Moscow, 18 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's State Duma (lower house) today postponed debates on government-proposed cuts in the 1997 budget aimed to offset poor tax collection.

Aleksandr Zhukov, deputy head of the Duma budget committee, told reporters the two sides still differed on the size of the cuts.

Zhukov did not provide further details on the latest disagreement between lawmakers and the government but said a conciliatory committee would meet later today and that the planned budget cuts had tentatively been included in tomorrow's agenda.

Yuri Maslyukov, a communist member of the committee, later told reporters the committee agreed to meet again tomorrow after failing to reach a compromise. Maslyukov said the government had agreed to scale back the cuts to around 85 trillion roubles (15,000 million dollars) but that some differences would have to be reviewed separately.

The government has proposed to slash expenditures by 19,000 million dollars. The cuts have been criticized by Russian lawmakers for making life tougher for ordinary citizens.