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Russia: Duma Rejects Revised Cuts On Social Welfare

Moscow, 24 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Russian State Duma today passed only one of a six revised measures aimed at cutting social welfare spending.

Deputy Labor Minister Galina Karelova told ITAR-TASS that deputies supported one reworked draft on children's benefits. Reuters says the measure was approved only after the government withdrew a proposal to cut the age of those entitled to the benefits to three years from 16 years.

All five other measures revised by a joint government-duma commission were rejected. Those proposed cuts would mostly affect the poor and elderly, the main constituency of the communist-led opposition which first rejected the package last week.

Yesterday, the Duma rejected government plans to slash spending under the 1997 budget by 108 trillion rubles ($18.8 billion). Nonetheless, the government has said, with or without Duma support, the cuts will go forward to balance the federal budget.