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    FRADKOV TO ENCOURAGE "DEPRESSIVE" REGIONS

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    MOSCOW, March 5, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russia's new government intends to pay considerable attention to the local self-government reform, prime minister nominee Mikhail Fradkov said.

    "Local self-government gives the opportunity to people in provinces to influence decision-making that is crucial for every specific person," Mr. Fradkov said at today's Duma session where his candidacy for the premiership is being considered.

    "The new government will encourage the development of 'depressive' regions. This is where the cabinet will lay emphasis," he noted.

    The potential prime minister stressed that in this case at issue was not so much the center's support of the regions but "the encouragement of better administration." "I'd like to stress that the government will pursue a tough fiscal policy. It will introduce new systems of the budget formation and state purchases," said Mr. Fradkov.

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