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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Gets Praise for Passing Bills

Top economic policy-makers in the government on Monday applauded parliament's passage of key reform bills after the legislature wound up its spring session with votes on reform policies.

The State Duma ended its session Saturday night by passing on the second of three readings a bill that would allow trade in land for the first time since the formative days of the Soviet Union.

The Duma passed legislation easing forex rules, stripped the Central Bank of its right to license banks, approved a bill to fight money laundering and backed three bills on pension reform.

"Parliament worked like never before," Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref told a news conference. "There hasn't been such progress in the past 10 years."

He promised to initiate new legislation to allow buying and selling farmland during the Duma's fall session.

The pace of work at the Duma indicated the government was anxious to provide President Vladimir Putin with reforms to present to the Genoa meeting of heads of state of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations plus Russia later this week.

Putin hopes to win backing for Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization. To that end, the Duma plans to work out a Customs Code in the fall to integrate the country into the international trading system.

"Russia switched from talk to action as far as joining the WTO," said Alexander Zhukov, head of the Duma budget committee.