Medvedev expects non-deficit budget in 2011

Russia may keep the deficit of its state budget at one percent or even have a non-deficit budget in 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev said.

Russian authorities have recently lowered planned budget deficit estimates for this year from 3.6 percent of the GDP to 1.3 percent.

“We can achieve a non-deficit budget or at least keep the deficit at around one percent due to external factors,” Medvedev said in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper published on Monday.

Medvedev admitted that he and the government faced a daunting task of balancing the state budget, which recently incurred enormous expenditures for social and defense purposes.

“The president must think not only about the balanced budget, but also about the country’s Armed Forces, and the current condition of our Armed Forces is far from ideal,” the president said.

Medvedev said that raising allowances for military personnel and modernizing Russia’s defense potential were his priority even if it interfered with eliminating the budget deficit.

“Russia must be well-defended, and despite a certain economic contradiction here, for me as a president there is no political contradiction,” he said.

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