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    PRESIDENTIAL AIDE WARNS EU AGAINST PRESSING RUSSIA TO RATIFY KYOTO PROTOCOL

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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent Alevtina Shchepetina/ - The Russian President's aide for economic issues Andrei Illarionov has officially warned the European Union against exercising pressure on Russia when ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

    When speaking at a conference in Moscow on Thursday, he said, "I would like to officially warn representatives of the European Union to refrain from moves that can be inevitably considered as unfriendly steps towards the Russian Federation. The attempt to exercise pressure on Russia when ratifying the Kyoto Protocol may be viewed as EU's direct intervention in the domestic affairs of the Russian Federation".

    According to Illarionov, "it is very difficult to estimate correctly how much we will lose after ratification of the Kyoto protocol. But we can lose everything, we can lose every chance to ever become a developed economic power".

    As early as at the first stage of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2013) Russia will achieve the fixed limits of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere (the level of 1990s), he said.

    "In theory, this can even happen a year or two earlier," he added. "If we start selling quotas, we will further reduce gas emissions," he pointed out.

    The biggest danger for Russia is contained in the second stage of the Protocol (after 2013), the rules of which has not been worked out so far, Illarionov emphasized.

    There are two possible scenarios of forming the second-stage rules, which are "equally unbeneficial for Russia", he explained.

    According to the first variant, by 2050 Russia is to cut emissions by 58 percent against 1998.

    "It is the lowest level of carbon dioxide emissions in the country, as the year was the climax of an economic crisis. Thus, the allowed emission for Russia will be 42 percent of the 1998 amount, that is, approximately 640-670 million tons," he said.

    Reduced emissions will mean "reduced economic activities" in Russia, the presidential aide pointed out. "This will turn us, who are now an economic teenager, into an economic dwarf", he underlined.

    In case of the second scenario, decisions on reduced emissions in Russia will not be taken, and the emission amount will remain at the present level and "Russia will simply stop in development", Illarionov said.

    In conclusion, he said that the Kyoto Protocol was creating "a unique bureaucratic monster, which will distribute quotas for emissions of carbon dioxide". "It reminds not of the planned economy, but of GULAG," he pointed out.

    "Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol will significantly restrain the country' economic growth and will not allow fulfilling the task set by the President of doubling GDP. Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol will foredoom the Russian Federation to economic under-development, poverty and weakness," Illarionov stressed.

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