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No plans to use Stab. Fund for demography, defense - Medvedev

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Russia's oil-windfall Stabilization Fund will not be used to solve demographic problems or finance defense spending, the first deputy prime minister said Friday.

KISLOVODSK, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's oil-windfall Stabilization Fund will not be used to solve demographic problems or finance defense spending, the first deputy prime minister said Friday.

Although President Vladimir Putin highlighted these issues in his May 10 state of the nation address, particularly the population's decline of 700,000 people a year, Dmitry Medvedev seemed to rule out using any of the $70 billion accrued in the fund to tackle the problem.

"The state is capable of implementing relevant decisions without using the Stabilization Fund," he said.

The first deputy prime minister said even expensive demographic projects - thought to require $1.11bln - $1.48bln - could be financed by the budget without dipping into the fund, which was established in 2004 to help balance the budget and hold back inflation by sterilizing the influx of petrodollars.

Medvedev, who has been touted as a possible successor to Putin, also spoke against adding demography and defense to the four priority national projects he oversees in education, health, housing and agriculture.

"The number of national projects should be limited and reasonable," he said. "The implementation of the projects should follow the principles of a short term, precise indicators and an accurate management system."

He added that demographic and defense problems would be resolved as part of national projects.

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