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Russia: Duma Postpones Budget Debate

Moscow, 13 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - The opposition-dominated Russian State Duma has postponed debate on next year's federal budget after legislators today rejected a series of government-proposed tax bills.

ITAR-TASS says the debate on the budget will now take place next Wednesday. But Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov says it pointless to discuss the budget in light of today's action on the Duma floor.

Deputies today voted down or refused to consider a number of tax bills among a dozen or so presented by the government as necessary underpinning for the budget. Five minor bills were passed but others, including a draft on indexing excise duty to inflation was rejected.

Today's debate comes with the Russian economy on shaky footing with Russian shares and bonds falling, the rouble weak and a continuing foreign exodus from Russian markets. President Boris Yeltsin met today with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to discuss the budget and the overall state of the economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, meanwhile, put off a planned visit to Kyiv. But the Duma asked the Prosecutor-General to look into a fee paid to a group of leading reformers, including Chubais, for a still unpublished book.