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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mayor Sets 2004 Card Deadline

All Muscovites will receive a plastic Muscovite card — which bearers can use to make purchases and pay bills — by 2004, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov said Thursday.

"Next year, 9 million cards will be issued," he said at an international trade conference, adding that some 1 million Muscovites will receive cards by the end of this year.

The card is not mandatory, however.

The project was launched last year on an experimental basis, and 37,000 pensioners have received cards in the southern district of Moscow.

City officials said earlier that the card's launch will cost $250 million, with the Moscow government investing $50 million and $200 million coming from Moscow banks.

The card bears the holder's photograph and contains personal information including passport and medical insurance numbers and blood type. It may eventually serve as a driver's license, against which fines for traffic violations could be deducted electronically.

Muscovites will be able to use the card to pay bills at restaurants and stores, as well as for telephone services and other utilities, even the metro.

City Hall will be able to transfer subsidy payments for utilities directly to individuals, Luzhkov said.

City officials said earlier that the card is being introduced to simplify residents' lives and to provide the Moscow government with a large pool of cash.