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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Budget Committee Ups Deficit

The government decided to increase the projected 1995 budget deficit Thursday because of the war in Chechnya.

During a meeting of the State Duma Budget Committee, deputy finance ministers Sergei Alexashenko and Vladimir Petrov, at legislators' insistence, agreed to raise the 1995 spending figure by 2.4 trillion rubles (about $600 million). The projected deficit reached 74.2 trillion rubles.

Budget Committee Chairman Mikhail Zadornov asked Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in a letter earlier this week to amend the basic budget figures so that they would reflect the cost of the Chechen operation.

Chernomyrdin responded Wednesday with a letter saying that the cost of the operation was yet unclear but that the restoration work in the devastated region would cost 3.5 trillion rubles, which could be covered by the existing budget allowances.

But Zadornov and other budget committee members insisted that deputies would be reluctant to pass a budget in which the expense of the campaign was not visibly reflected. The Finance Ministry representatives complied, although the amount by which they increased 1995 spending is likely to be contested in the second reading.