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    PUTIN DRAWS GOVERNMENT ATTENTION TO SOCIAL PROBLEMS IN VILLAGES AND SMALL TOWNS

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    MOSCOW, February 2nd, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin has drawn the attention of the government to the social problems in villages and small towns.

    "The interconnection between social and economic factors in this sphere is the most obvious," said the Russian President on Monday, addressing the conference with members of the government in the Kremlin.

    He pointed out that this week a serious talk is expected on all the questions that are connected to this problem.

    "Though it is not for the first time that we return to this problem, yet I think that today it is still urgent. Its urgency has remained. Maybe, it has become even more urgent, because one of the main priorities this year is inter-budgetary relations," said the head of state.

    Vladimir Putin noted that he had in mind the legislative package on delimitation of the authority between the federation subjects, the federal centre and the municipalities.

    "The documents are already in the State Duma. But much is yet to be done that they acquire a final form that would suit the federal centre, the subjects of the Federation and the municipalities," believes the President.

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