20:40 GMT +318 March 2018
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    MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti's Nikolai Makarov) - 2,806,000,000 rubles (some $98.2 million) of federal funds were spent on the State Duma election in December 2003, Oleg Velyashev, deputy chief of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC), said at a CEC meeting on Friday.

    The lion's share of the sum, 2,172,000,000 rubles, went to Russia's constituent members, above all, on local election commission staffs' salaries.

    Mr Velyashev said 710 million rubles allotted for the parliamentary election had been saved.

    The commission's financial report, which was approved at Friday's meeting, says that 2,341 candidates who ran for the Duma from single-mandate constituencies, accumulated a total of 2.4 billion rubles in their campaign funds, while 25 political parties and election blocs accumulated 1.6 billion rubles on their accounts.

    The candidates and parties were provided free airtime and newspaper space worth 883 million rubles. 530 million of the sum will have to be repaid to TV and radio stations by the parties that gained less than 2% of votes.

    A total of over 5 billion rubles were spent on the Duma campaign, according to CEC chief Alexander Veshnyakov. The amount includes federal funds and the money spent by parties and individual candidates.

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