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    MOSCOW, February 12th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - The formation of a full-fledged civil society in Russia is unconceivable without truly free and responsible media, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said on Thursday in his address to his confidants as a presidential candidate in Moscow State University.

    At the same time, he noted that freedom and responsibility of the media "should rely upon the relevant legal and economic basis that the government must provide." The Russian president asserted that citizens' freedom and rights were "the most valuable, as they determine the meaning and contents of state activity." "I am convinced that only a developed civil society can provide stable democratic freedoms, guarantee rights to people and citizens, and finally only a free person can provide economic growth and ensure a country's prosperity," said Putin.

    He also promised to complete the judicial reform and the reform of Russian law-enforcers. Putin described this area as "determining for the establishment of real democracy in the country."

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