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At the meeting of the Presidium of the Government of the Russian Federation on 13 October 2008, the issue of competing the preparations in the housing and utilities sector for the autumn and winter period of 2008 2009 was addressed.

In order to round up the activity of preparing for the autumn and winter period of 2008 2009, the following measures have been taken:

the Interdepartmental Commission for monitoring the progress in preparing the housing and utilities objects belonging to subjects of the Russian Federation for the autumn and winter period of 2008 2009 was created, and the procedure for the interaction between the aforesaid Commission and the government commission for ensuring safe electric power supply (federal headquarters), its composition having been approved by the RF Government;

the criteria for assessing the performance of the bodies of executive authority of RF subjects in preparing for the autumn and winter period of 2008 2009 were developed;

the decision was made concerning the allocation of subsidies from the federal budget to the budgets of four RF subjects, earmarked for covering the costs arising as a result of increased prices of liquid fuel.

As estimated by the RF Ministry for Regional Development, in Russia the preparation of housing and utilities objects for functioning during the impending autumn and winter has, in the main, been completed, and the necessary measures were implemented at a higher speed than last year. At the same time, according to the data from state statistics reports, some regions as of 1 October 2008 had fallen behind in terms of preparedness of their housing and utilities objects.

The RF Ministry of Enegry approved the summary forecast balance of fuel reserves to be allotted to the organizations in the electrical power supply sector in the autumn and winter period of 2008 2009, the list of regions falling in the high risk category in terms of maximum power transmission loads, and the list of technological and organizational measures designed to decrease the regional risks of peak loads during the autumn and winter period, including the putting in operation, modernization, and capital repairs of transmission facilities, equipment and grids, as well as preventive measures aimed at improving the professional skills of personnel employed in extreme conditions, etc.

On the same day, the issue of the reforming of the housing and utilities complex of the Russian Federation was also discussed.

The implementation of reform in the housing and utilities sphere from 1997 to 2006 progressed in accordance with Edict of the President of Russia of 28 April 1997, No 425, On reform of the housing and utilities sector of the Russian Federation, whereby the Concept of reforming the housing and utilities sector was approved (the Concept determined the goals and principal directions of reforming the housing and utilities sector and of ensuring the social protection of the population in terms of payment for the housing and utilities services), and also in accordance with the subprogram Reforming and modernization of the housing and utilities complex of the Russian Federation attached to the Federal Target Program Housing in 2002 - 2010, approved by the RF Government on 17 September 2001, No 675.

The legal base of reform in the housing and utilities sector consists of several normative legal acts.

In 2004, Federal Law On the fundamental principles of regulating the tariffs of the organizations belonging to the utilities complex of 30 December 2004, No 210-FZ, was adopted, and the Provision concerning the granting of subsidies earmarked for payment for housing rent and utilities charges of 30 August 2004, No 444. was approved.

For purposes of implementing Law No 210-FZ, the RF Government issued a number of decrees designed to approve: the rules for concluding and executing the public contracts for connecting to utilities infrastructure systems; the procedure for determining the terms of functioning of the organizations belonging to the utilities complex, any change of which would influence the cost of goods and services provided by those organizations; the procedure for funding the investment programs for the organizations belonging to the utilities complex producers of goods and services in the sphere of electric power and (or) heating supply.

From 1 March 2005, the new Housing Code came into force, whereby existing housing legislation was brought in conformity with the norms stipulated in the Constitutions, the adopted federal laws, which were designed to properly regulate the relations existing in the housing sphere, and first of all in respect to the issues of delineating the powers between the RF bodies of state authority, those of subjects of the Russian Federation, and local self-governments, with due regard for the changes of the economic and social situation in the country.

Within the framework of implementing the RF Housing Code, the RF Government adopted 15 normative acts aimed at approving the model contracts of welfare-covered and specialized types of renting housing premises; the procedure for granting subsidies to cover the payment of housing rent and the cost of utilities; the forms of applications for reconstruction and (or) replanning of dwellings; the rules for providing utilities to citizens, as well as the procedure for recalculating the rates of payment for certain types of utilities for temporary absent citizens during the periods of their absence, and the procedure for altering the size of payments when the quality of the utilities provided is below the established standards, and (or) there are interruptions in the supply of services in excess of the established standards for possible interruptions; the form and content of the document confirming the decision made with regard to the transfer of housing premises into the category of non-housing premises, and the transfer of non-housing premises into the category of housing premises, or the refusal of such a transfer; and some other documents.

One of the directions stipulated in new housing legislation is demonopolization and promotion of competition in the housing sector by creating societies of housing owners and housing management companies.

In 2007, in accordance with Federal Law On the Fund for promoting reform of the housing and utilities sector, a new financial institution was created the state corporation Fund for Promoting Reform of the Housing and Utilities Sector, whose activity is aimed at financial support of the implementation of the programs of capital repairs of residential buildings and resettlement of citizens from dwellings not suitable for living.

In order to carry on further transformations in the sphere of housing and utilities, the RF Ministry for Regional Development, in cooperation with relevant federal executive bodies, developed the Set of Measures for reforming the housing and utilities sphere of the Russian Federation in 2007 2008, which was in the main approved at the RF Governments meeting on 16 February 2007, and after further elaborations, with due regard for the provisions stipulated in the Presidents 2007 Letter to the Federal Assembly, approved by Order of the RF Minister for Regional Development.

At the meeting of the RF Government on 1 October 2008, the report of Minister for Economic Development E. S. Nabiullina was heard, which addressed the Concept of long-term socioeconomic development of the Russian Federation, developed in accordance with the RF Presidents assignment based on the results of the State Councils meeting on 21 July 2006.

The Concept was developed in order to determine the directions and methods for ensuring stable improvement of the welfare of Russian citizens, consolidation of national security and dynamic longterm development of the national economy (in 2008 - 2020), and strengthening of Russias position in the global community.

In accordance with this aim, the Concept formulates the following points:

- the characteristics of the goal of this countrys long-term socioeconomic development, with due regard for the main challenges of the forthcoming period;

- the methods, directions and stages of achieving the set goals, as well as forms and mechanisms of the strategic partnership between the state, the business community and society in achieving the Concepts goals;

- the goals, target indices, priorities and principal tasks of the long-term policy in the development of the social sphere, science and technologies, and structural transformations in the national economy;

- the goals and priorities of foreign economic policy;

- the parameters of the Russian economys spatial development, and the goals and tasks involved in long-term territorial development.

An overview of economic legislation I. Tolmacheva In October, the authorities introduced the following important innovations in economic legislation:

the insurance limit for personal bank deposits was increased; it was established that the Central Bank of Russia has the right to participate in bidding on stock exchanges; the mass media organ where the information on sales of federal property would be published was determined; the new statute on the specific features of the procedure for sending employees on employment business trips was approved.

I. Federal laws of the Russian Federation 1. ON THE INTRODUCTION OF ALTERATIONS IN ARTICLE 11 OF THE FEDERAL LAW ON INSURANCE OF PERSONAL BANK DEPOSITS AND IN SOME OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION of 13 October 2008, No 174-FZ.

The insurance limit for personal bank deposits is increased. The guarantee for a deposit with a bank participating in the system of personal deposits mandatory insurance, in case of an event happening with regard to the given bank, and also the Bank of Russias guarantee with regard to a bank deposit with a bank not participating in the system of personal deposits mandatory insurance, which has been recognized as bankrupt, are increased to 700,000 rubles. Compensations in the said amount should be paid for the deposits placed with those banks with regard to which relevant events happened after October 2008, or to those banks whose banking licences were withdrawn after this date. Also, it is established that, so far as individual credit institutions are concerned, the Bank of Russia has the right to introduce, until 31 December 2009, restrictions on the interest rates upper limit, which a credit institution defines in the deposit agreements being concluded or prolonged in the restriction period.

2. ON THE INTRODUCTION OF ALTERATIONS IN THE FEDERAL LAW ON THE CENTRAL BANK OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (BANK OF RUSSIA), AND IN ARTICLE 12 OF THE FEDERAL LAW ON THE SECURITIES MARKET, of 27 October 2008, No 176-FZ.

In accordance with the alterations introduced in Federal Law of 10 July 2002, No 83-FZ, On the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia) and in the Federal Law of 22 April 1996, No 39-FZ, On the Securities Market, in the course of its open market operations, the RF Central Bank has the right to participate in bidding on stock exchanges, and (or) in that conducted by other organizers of trade on the securities market. The alterations augment the list of operations which the RF Central Bank is authorized to carry out on the open market. Such operations are understood in the law as the purchase and sale of government securities and bonds of the RF CB, and the purchase and sale of other securities determined by the Board of Directors of the RF CB, on condition that they are admitted to stock exchange listing and (or) to the trading floors set by other organizers of trade on the securities market. Also, purchase and sale of shares are now permitted in the course of operations conducted by the RF CB on the open market, but only on condition of a later offset; beside, the law authorizes the possibility of realization of shares in the event of a counterpartys refusal to meet its obligations with respect to such offset. Information on the transactions effected by the RF CB in the course of bidding on stock exchanges and (or) on the trading floors of other organizers of trade on the securities market should be made public in accordance with the specification, procedure and timelimits established for this purpose by the Board of Directors of the RF CB.

II. Regulations of the Government of the Russian Federation 1. In its Regulation of 22 October 2008, No 1540-R, the RF Government makes public its choice of the organ of mass media that will publish the information on sales of federal property. It is established that the information on sales of federal property will be published in Gosudarstvennoe imushchestvo [State Property], the official bulletin of the State Agency for Federal Property Management (Rosimushchestvo).

III. Decrees of the Government of the Russian Federation 1. ON THE SPECIFIC FEATURES OF THE PROCEDURE FOR SENDING EMPLOYEES ON EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS TRIPS of 13 October 2008, No 749.

The Statute defines the peculiarities of sending workers on employment business trips, both in the territory of the RF and in the territory of foreign states. The Statute gives the definition of the term place of permanent work as the place of location of the organization (or its separate structural subdivision) the employees work at which is stipulated by a labor contract. It is envisaged, in particular, that employees should be sent on business trips at the instruction of the employer for a determined period of time, in order to fulfil an employment commission outside the place of their permanent work. A trip of an employee, at the instruction of the employer, to a separate subdivision of the sender organization (or its representative office or branch establishment) situated outside of the place of permanent work should also be recognized as a business trip.

One of the new Statutes major dissimilarities from the similar Soviet instruction (of 07 April 1988, No 62) is the absence of the maximum 40-day limit for a business trip (and the one-year limit, if an employee is sent in order to carry out assembly, or adjusting operations, or construction work). Although the RF Labor Code contains no limitations on the length of business trips, previously tax agencies refused to acknowledge the costs of business trips exceeding 40 days, on the grounds stipulated in the then valid Soviet instruction..

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