September 25, 2002

Russian government ready to declassify 90% of defense budget

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) - By the second and third readings of the 2003 draft budget, the Russian government plans to declassify 90% of defense spending, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Wednesday while delivering a report on the draft budget in the Duma.

He said that a corresponding letter has been sent to the lower house.

He said that first of all, the government plans to declassify spending on the current maintenance of the armed forces, which will mean the declassification of 65% of all defense articles.

In Kudrin's opinion, this will make the defense budget "more public, open and controllable for society."

He said that in a situation when such large sums are channeled to defense, the Russian government is prepared to make these sums more open and transparent.

[Description of Source: Moscow Interfax in English -- non-government information agency known for its aggressive reporting, extensive economic coverage, and good coverage of Russia's regions]