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Kudrin blasts report on overcoming technological problems

MOSCOW, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's finance minister criticized Thursday a report from the Education and Science Ministry on resolving the problem of the country's technological backwardness but earned a sharp rebuke from the prime minister.

The ministry proposed using state-private mechanisms to resolve the problem and focusing on four main areas: the development of nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, energy saving and alternative energy technologies and information technologies.

The report, which will be discussed by the Security Council on June 20, also said the government should support high-tech branches and professional training and spend 30-50 billion rubles a year ($1.1-1.8 billion) on industrial modernization.

But Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin called the report raw and said, "I would not forward these proposals to the Security Council."

However, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov responded quickly, "You will have the opportunity to excel after the Security Council's quite tough decision."

Fradkov also suggested that Kudrin read works by Anatoly Chubais, current chief executive of the Unified Energy System electricity giant and former head of the Kremlin administration, as well as other economists.

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