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Putin promises at least $110 billion in state support as election looms

Russian President Putin addresses the Federal Assembly in Moscow

By Vladimir Soldatkin, Darya Korsunskaya and Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday proposed at least $110 billion in extra state support such as tax allowances for families with children and additional funds for regions with low birth rates, before an election he is almost certain to win.

Pre-election promises, with spending areas ranging from social payments to heavy infrastructure, are set to cost Russia more than 10 trillion roubles ($109.92 billion) across the next six years, according to initial Reuters calculations.

Demographic concerns have plagued the Russian authorities for many years. Earlier this month, Putin urged Russian families to produce at least two children for the sake of the nation's ethnic survival, and three or more for it to develop and thrive.

Putin, 71, addressing lawmakers and other members of the country's elite, said at least 75 billion roubles would be allocated to regions with below average birth rates by 2030 and proposed prolonging preferential mortgage and maternity capital programmes until 2030.

"Constant work aimed at improving the quality of life for families with children and supporting the birth rate is needed," Putin said, announcing the launch of a new national project called 'Family'.

The costliest pledge concerned 4.5 trillion roubles for modernising public infrastructure and 1 trillion roubles on the construction, repair and equipping of hospitals.

Putin promised another 700 billion roubles to create digital platforms in key economic sectors, 400 billion roubles to overhaul schools and kindergartens, 360 billion roubles for parks and public spaces and 250 billion roubles to modernise airport infrastructure.

Costs for subsidising mortgages and tax allowances for families could not yet be determined. Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said maternity capital programmes would cost an additional 600 billion roubles by 2030.

Poverty remains an acute problem, Putin said, directly affecting 9% of the population and with the rate among large families above 30%. The goal is for those rates to fall below 7% and 12% respectively by 2030, he said.

Putin often makes pre-election promises, pledging more funds for groups such as pensioners, veterans and families that analysts see as a way for him to shore up support.

($1 = 90.9770 roubles)

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Anastasia Lyrchikova, Darya Korsunskaya, Olesya Astakhova; Writing by Alexander MarrowEditing by Gareth Jones, William Maclean)