CUT TAXES TO COPE WITH WELFARE PROBLEMS, CALLS KUDRIN

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MOSCOW, February 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia ought to somewhat reduce tax rates, says Alexei Kudrin, Finance Minister. That would help to tackle social welfare tasks, as he sees it.

Russia was spending considerable sums to cut taxes within the previous four years. Now is the time to improve the situation of key government-financed economic branches, with tax reduction going on, he said to a Novosti news conference this afternoon.

It is a must to keep up the current level of labor remuneration in government-financed companies and offices, while raising pensions and military officers' salaries. Russia will not pace up its economic progress without all that, stressed the minister.

Fundamental research allocations are to rise by an annual 10 to 14 per cent, or even more, so as to keep up with inflation rates or even outpace them. Researchers will have wage rises. Meanwhile, their earnings are not enough to combat brain drain, remarked Mr. Kudrin. "As minister, I shall be doing what I can to have researchers' salaries raised." Russia has sufficient opportunities to do so, he added.

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