Question (Vladimir Sandutsa, Russian news agency “NOVOSTI” (“NEWS”)): Yevgeny Vasilyevich, you referred to the situation as difficult, can it be regarded as a crisis? How do you think it was a mistake to pass a deficit budget, for you approved amendments considering that there will be no foreign receipts?

I don’t regard the current situation as an economic crisis. It is not hopeless, I believe, that due to the joint efforts of executive, legislative and local government we’ll manage to stabilize the situation in the near future. Salaries, pensions, etc are currently paid, there’re no arrears so we have no grounds to refer to it as a crisis. A crisis means three-month arrears. in this situation we have an opportunity to smooth out the negative effects.

In relation to the 2007 republican budget, it is up to you to decide if it was a mistake or not. Law-makers considered it right under the circumstances. Besides, you know that the statements were made by executive officials and representatives of RF that the aid would be provided. In view of the election campaign for presidency and when the executive authorities were focused on the presidential election campaign there was no opportunity to discuss the republican budget. Everybody understood that new public officers would be appointed. I believe it was the only optimal solution at that moment.