November 4, 2008

Medvedev Unlikely to Call for Spending

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is not expected to announce much new government spending during his inaugural State of the Nation speech, officials say.

Unlike his predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who announced big capital projects, Medvedev is faced with dwindling revenues because of plunging oil prices, ballooning expenses and, in general, effects of the global financial crises, the Moscow Times reported Tuesday.

Oksana Dmitriyeva, a senior State Duma deputy with the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party, held out some hope Medvedev could order funding for efforts aimed at stimulating the economy and weening Moscow from its over-reliance on oil and gas revenues, a goal that Putin supported, the newspaper said.

Ivan Melnikov, a Communist deputy speaker of the Duma, predicted to the Times that there would be efforts to increase spending, but added, "The question is whether the favors will be extended to the banking lobby or the real sector."

Medvedev's speech, after being delayed twice, is set for Wednesday.