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Medvedev Criticizes Urban Business Climate

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedv criticized Moscow and St. Petersburg city authorities Friday for creating red tape for businessmen.

"The number of permits and the time spent on getting them in our metropolitan cities is reprehensible," he said at a meeting with businessmen.

Despite praising Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin for his efforts to improve the situation, Medvedev pointed out that getting a construction permit in the capital requires about a year.

"This is madness, of course. It shouldn't be like this anywhere," he said, Interfax reported.

The prime minister also pointed out that entrepreneurs in regional towns face different problems than those working in big cities.

He pushed forward the idea of creating "business provinces" to help regional businessmen solve their problems. Medvedev proposed that ruling United Russia party, of which he is chairman, oversees the project.

During the meeting, Medvedev also couldn't resist joking about the Mayan prediction of apocalypse, which had been supposed to come Friday morning: "It's 3 p.m. already, and the world hasn't ended yet."

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