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    HIGH POVERTY LEVEL OBSERVED IN 61 RUSSIAN REGIONS

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    MOSCOW, March 18, 2004 - (RIA Novosti). A very high poverty level is observed in 61 out of 89 constituent entities of the Russian Federation, Head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Arkady Volsky said at the international conference "Social Responsibility of Companies." "Despite the favorable changes in the economy, the inadmissible high poverty level exists, especially high in 61 Russian regions," he stressed.

    According to Volsky, only 1.5% of the country's population are well-to-do, with differences in incomes within this stratum being 20 times.

    In the opinion of the RSPP head, the solution of urgent problems, including overcoming poverty, demands consolidated actions of all branches of power and business.

    Business in Russia is striving for a serious dialogue with the state and civil society in resolving the key problems of the country's social development, first and foremost, in overcoming poverty, Volsky said.

    He also noted that the "social responsibility of business is more than charity action alone -enterprises-members of the RSPP spend up to 17% of their profits on social programs.

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