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Russian gypsies denied 'baby-money' to buy new caravan

KALININGRAD, February 13 (RIA Novosti) - A group of gypsies in Russia's westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad has been denied a federal subsidy for a new caravan, local officials said on Friday.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced at the end of last year that so-called 'baby-money,' a payment of 267,500 rubles ($7,700 at the current exchange rate) for families with two or more children could be used from the start of 2009 to help pay off mortgages or improve living conditions.

Before this, the payouts, which were introduced in 2007, could only be used after children reached the age of three.

The gypsies filed a request for the sum saying that they needed it to buy a new caravan to house the group's many children. However, local authorities said the money could not be granted to them as a caravan was not recognized as official accommodation under Russian law.

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