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    Russia's industrial output not to reach 1980s levels - minister

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    MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's volume of production in the next 10 years will not reach the levels it did in the late 1980s, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref told reporters during a break from a Cabinet session Thursday.

    "I would not compare [the current economy] with the economy in 1989. In terms of volume, we have surpassed 1997 but are unlikely to reach 1989 ever," the minister said, supporting his idea with figures on aviation production, which was at 1,200 aircraft in 1989.

    "In the coming decades we will not reach this benchmark, but it is probably not necessary," Gref said, pointing out the differing economic models of Russia's current economy and the Soviet economy of the late 1980s.

    "In 1989 we produced a huge amount of goods that were not needed by consumers," the minister said. "Now the economy works under new principles; it targets demand or a market."

    Gref said it was inaccurate to compare individual incomes in the former Soviet Union with current incomes. The spending structure and pricing in the U.S.S.R were completely different from the current ones, the minister said. "Even in the last years of the Soviet era, prices of some goods were low but their quality and the demand for them were even lower," he said.

    When answering a question about whether people lived better in the Soviet era or now, Gref said it was a matter of individual perception. "I think people live in different ways, and it depends on their system of values," he said.

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