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    MOSCOW, January 27, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Andrei Malosolov) - A tripartite agreement was signed in Moscow on Tuesday by the Russian government, the administration of the Tambov Region (Central Federal District of the Russian Federation) and the administration of Michurinsk on its development as an academic town.

    The programme for the development of Michurinsk provides for a fundamental research in genetics, selection, biotechnology, physiology, biochemistry and the ecology of food, fruit and vegetable crops, said Deputy Prime Minister Boris Alyoshin who represented the Russian government.

    The development programme for 2003-2007 envisages the working out of effective ecologically safe production technologies, and scientific technical and innovation activity in the sphere of production of ecologically pure raw materials and new types of foodstuffs of a health-building nature.

    The town of Michurinsk in the Tambov Region has become, under the Russian President's decree of November 4, 2003, the seventh academic town in the country. At the present time, the towns of Korolyov, Dubna, Reutov, Fryazino (all in the Moscow Region), Obninsk (Kaluga Region ) and the township of Koltsovo in the Novosibirsk Region have this status.

    Boris Alyoshin pointed out that for the first time the status of an academic town has been conferred upon the town which does not work for the defence complex of the country, but makes civilian products.

    According to him, the main aim of giving the status of an academic town to Michurinsk is to support its scientific potential, to develop its personnel and to accomplish the ambitious tasks of developing the country's agrarian sector. The Vice Premier believes that the signed agreement will give a tremendous impulse to the development of the region and the town.

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