FRENCH PAPERS ON NEW RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT

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PARIS, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Andrei Nizamutdinov) -- Official French politicians and institutions usually do not comment on the formation of a new Russian (or any other foreign) government, believing it is "an internal affair."

As for the leading papers, their reports and commentaries are made in a skeptical-critical tone.

Figaro writes that the appointment of Alexander Zhukov to the post of the vice prime minister "should be welcomed." Mr. Zhukov is an economist highly assessed by the world's financial markets for his orientation towards reforms.

The fact that such liberal figures as economic development and trade minister German Gref and finance minister Alexei Kudrin remained in the government confirms Moscow's striving to develop the liberal economy, writes the influential Figaro.

The paper also writes about the appointment of Sergei Lavrov to the post of a foreign minister. He is a career diplomat, who was a permanent representative of Russia in the UN for the last ten years.

The Tribune economic paper writes that Vladimir Putin, who is sure he will win already in the first round of the forthcoming presidential elections, said the economic growth and higher living standards of the Russian people are a priority in his election campaign.

The paper also points to the appointment of Mr. Zhukov to the post of the vice prime minister and stresses that this politician is simultaneously an experienced administrator and an expert in the economic reforms (earlier he was the State Duma vice-speaker and before that headed the Duma budgetary committee).

The fact that Alexei Kudrin and German Gref retained their posts is good news, said the Tribune.

The paper of business circles, Eko simply enumerates appointments.

Just as other papers it pays attention to the appointment of Zhukov as an expert in the tax, customs and monetary issues who comes out for more simple tax system, liquidation of "tax havens" and even for the amnesty for tax violations.

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