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    SHEMURSHA (Chuvashia), February 5th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Oleg Osipov) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed the need to address social problems of villages.

    To this end, the work divided into 13 federal programmes needs to be centralised, and barriers hampering the rural development eliminated," the president said at a conference on social development of rural areas in the Chuvash village of Shemursha.

    "The economy has seen some progress recently, but this is a slow process and is not felt in the villages with less developed infrastructure, unemployment, undeveloped healthcare and education systems," said the head of state.

    "For the people to notice any improvement, the financial and administrative authorities should be clearly divided and administrative barriers hampering rural development eliminated," he stressed.

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