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Acting President Vladimir Putin chaired a government meeting

March 9, 2000, Moscow

The Government meeting discussed, among other things, preparations to mark the 55th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Mr Putin opened the meeting by saying that Russia would protect all war veterans, no matter where they lived. He said he had recently contacted Latvian leaders on the plight of Vasily Kononov, a veteran now serving a prison term.

The Acting President stressed that the Government should pay more attention to the social security of veterans, adding that 1.8 million Great Patriotic War veterans lived in Russia. “We do not have very many veterans, so the state and the Government must do everything they can to ensure that they can lead a comfortable life,” Mr Putin said.

He said that all veterans would receive three minimum pensions in April. Home-front workers and widows of those killed in action would get one pension each.

He said the forthcoming Victory in Europe Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square would involve 650 Russian veterans, as well as 350 veterans from neighbouring countries. Russia would cover all their expenses if the veterans were unable to travel to Moscow.

The meeting also discussed a strategy for developing the fuel and energy sector due to be drafted by September 2000.

Moreover, Government members examined measures to supply fuel and energy for industry and the people in 2000. Mr Putin expressed confidence that the problem could be solved despite numerous obstacles.

The meeting discussed efforts to streamline the Government’s law-making activities. Mr Putin stressed that all bills should undergo a complete check by legal experts before being submitted to the State Duma.

The Acting President said that the State Duma had rejected about 200 sub-standard bills since 1999.

March 9, 2000, Moscow