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    NEW GOVERNMENT TO CONTINUE LIBERAL REFORMS, SAYS FRADKOV

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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The new government will continue liberal reforms, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced on Wednesday.

    "The economic bloc will remain the same and the succession of the course for liberal reforms will be ensured," he emphasized.

    The reforms aim at increasing Russia's competitiveness in the world, he pointed out.

    "The world lives under these rules and we also have to try to increase competitiveness of the economy and individuals," Fradkov said.

    According to him, the new government will pay special attention to the bloc of industry and energy sphere, as well as to construction and communal housing, headed by Viktor Khristenko.

    "Viktor Khristenko will be able to define the junction points and to adopt market tools on the one hand, and on the other to preserve some share for the state," the Prime Minister underlined.

    Fradkov also pays great attention to the infrastructure, that is, communications and transport. "This direction will be headed by a new man with fresh ideas, Igor Levitin. He is a man with a backbone, as everyone comes out from good business with a backbone," the Prime Minister pointed out. "He has received good experience in the army and in business." Mr. Fradkov described appointment of Mikhail Zurabov, the Minister of Healthcare and Social Development, as "a well-considered move".

    "Mr. Zurabov will create a system oriented towards people. Mr. Zurabov conforms to tasks. He has a systematic approach and a great desire to achieve results," he explained.

    The Prime Minister also touched upon development of science in the country.

    "We could unite science with a department engaged in industrial issues, but I believe this would be to early," Mr. Fradkov said. "To begin with, we have to unite all kinds of science, to raise education to the international level, to create an incentive for the young to shape a society competitive with the Western ones." "Mr. Fursenko heads the ministry of education and science, he is a well-educated and energetic man, he is obsessed with the idea of creating an innovation market in the country," Fradkov concluded.

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