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    PRESIDENT PUTIN TO BOOST NATIONAL MODERNISATION RATE - POLITICAL ANALYST

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    MOSCOW, February 25, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The dismissal of the cabinet preceding the presidential election is an indication of President Vladimir Putin's desire to wreck the sluggish pace of development of the Russian economy and boost the rate of liberal modernisation, Konstantin Simonov, general director of the Current Politics Centre, said to RIA Novosti in an interview.

    "The cabinet dismissal is not a PR game before the election. Even without it the sweeping majority of electors are ready to vote for the incumbent president. It is the move by a strong politician sure of victory," Simonov said.

    "In case the old cabinet were dismissed and a new one formed in May, after the presidential inauguration, three months would have been lost for the country's modernization," Konstantin Simonov believes. "The president wants the cabinet to set to at once without delay." Simonov drew the attention to the president's criticism of the cabinet sounding way back in December during the presidential live cast with Russians.

    "President said then that the rate of economic growth in Russia is lagging behind our neighbours'," stressed the political analyst. "The same assessments sounded in Putin's utterances on February 12 before persons presenting his candidacy," Simonov added.

    Konstantin Simonov believes that "Vladimir Putin is today the most liberal politician in Russia". "The accusations by our ultra-liberals in the address of the president appear strange and absurd," he said.

    "Before the parliamentary elections the right-wingers did not hazard voicing their economic program," Konstantin Simonov said. "Now they are censuring the president for announcing the liberal theses."

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