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    DUMA DEPUTIES HAIL POSSIBILITY OF ALEXANDER ZHUKOV APPOINTMENT AS FIRST VICE-PREMIER

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    MOSCOW, March 2, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- Deputies of the State Duma (Russia's lower parliamentary chamber) welcome the possibility of appointment of their colleague Alexander Zhukov as the first vice-premier.

    The candidature of first vice-speaker of the lower parliamentary chamber Alexander Zhukov (United Russia faction) to the post of the first deputy chairman of government was proposed on Tuesday by prime minister nominee Mikhail Fradkov during consultations in the State Duma.

    The prospect of Zhukov's appointment should be seen as a definitely positive event for the economy, believes Vladislav Reznik (United Russia), chairman of the Duma committee for credit organisations and the financial policy. "I'm sure that the Russian market will react positively to this information," he said.

    Zhukov is "an absolutely upright man and a top professional," said Reznik. "There are not many specialists in Russia, who can understand the scope of goals facing the national economy and rely on years of personal experience of practical work," Reznik said.

    Victor Pleskachevski, chairman of the Duma property committee, also gave a positive assessment of the possible appointment of Zhukov as the first vice-premier. "It is good not only for the cabinet of ministers but also for the country as a whole," he believes. Only the State Duma will stand to lose, Pleskachevski believes.

    KPRF leader Gennadi Zyuganov was laconic. "I like the name," he said.

    LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovski, believes that it's still early to make any comments. "The appointment has not been made yet," he snapped.

    Duma vice-speaker Dmitri Rogozin of the Fatherland faction called Zhukov "a good specialist". "It is good if Alexander Zhukov is invited, but we don't see it as the formation of a cabinet on the basis of parliamentary majority," Rogozin said. "It is too early to rely on United Russia as the factory of cadre for the future cabinet," he believes.

    Duma vice-speaker Vladimir Pekhtin of United Russia on the contrary thinks that Fradkov's proposal to appoint Zhukov as the first vice-premier is an indication that part of the posts in the new cabinet will be taken by United Russia.

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