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    ST. PETERSBURG, January 28, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The Pension Fund of Russia (PFR) will allocate about 500 million roubles (about $17 million) this year for medical services to non-working pensioners of St. Petersburg. The St. Petersburg administration and the PFR signed an agreement to this effect on Wednesday.

    "Medical services to pensioners must become a priority in a few years to come," PFR head Mikhail Zurabov said. "In Petersburg, where the pension scheme looks modest compared with to the subsistence minimum, allocation of additional funds has long become pressing necessity".

    St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko noted that "it is a serious addition to the city's budget, which will allow the medical services to pensioners to be improved." She also recalled that this agreement is the continuation of the cooperation between the city administration and the Pension Fund: in 2003 the administration and the PFR already signed a similar document, and in November-December 2003 the PFR allocated about 61 million roubles (over $2.1 million) for these purposes.

    The governor said that inclusion of the city into the experiment on providing non-working citizens with medicines may become the next stage of the cooperation between the PFR and St. Petersburg.

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