Russian leader pledges to continue social programs (AP)

President Dmitry Medvedev attends the meeting of the Council on the Implementation of Priority National Projects at Moscow's Kremlin, Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008. Russia will run a budget deficit in 2009 for the first time in a decade as low oil prices take their toll on government revenue. (AP Photo/ Sergei Initrky, pool)AP – Russia’s financial crisis may slow development but won’t derail state social programs, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday amid new warnings that the government next year would face its first budget deficit in a decade.

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