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Today the spectacular growth rates of Russia's economy in 1999 and 2000 have slowed considerably. The slowdown in the world economy and the large decline in world oil prices now threaten growth even more. As growth contracts in Russia, it is inevitable that government budgets will become tighter. It is likely that local and regional budgets will be most affected. This means that some ambitious plans for small business promotion will be threatened by lack of funding.

The ups and downs of the general economic climate must, however, not be taken as reason to abandon all efforts to promote small business. What is most important is that governments at all levels draw up plans on the basis of realistic assessments of the economic future and that they commit themselves to implement those plans over the longer term.

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