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    PM FRADKOV PRESENTS NEW CABINET TO PRESIDENT

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    MOSCOW, March 9, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov presented the new cabinet to the Russian president on Tuesday.

    He began with Alexander Zhukov, the only deputy prime minister in the new Russian government. The prime minister described Zhukov as the former deputy speaker of the State Duma, and as a "balanced and resolute" person who is well known in the country. According to Mr. Fradkov, he expects his deputy to take balanced and resolute actions in the future.

    Then the prime minister presented Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref who occupied the same post in the previous government. According to Mr. Fradkov, the Federal Property Agency and the Russian Fund of the Federal Property are to be included in this ministry.

    The new Health and Social Development Minister, Mikhail Zurabov, who previously headed the Pension Fund, was presented as "an experienced and energetic person." Mr. Fradkov said that Zurabov's deputy in charge of social issues would be Galina Karelova (former deputy prime minister), and Vladimir Starodubov would be his deputy for health issues.

    Then, Mr. Fradkov presented Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and head of the government staff Dmitry Kozak. The prime minister thanked the presidential administration for delegating Dmitry Kozak to the government from the post of the first deputy chief of the presidential administration.

    In reply, Vladimir Putin noted that Mr. Kozak was one of the authors of the new government structure.

    When presenting Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin who has retained his post, Mr. Fradkov said that the minister would soon begin to improve the taxation system.

    According to the prime minister, new Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was recommended by former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. Mr. Fradkov called Mr. Lavrov "a man with a high qualification and a career diplomat." Yuri Trutnev, former governor of the Perm region in the Urals, has been appointed new Minister of Natural Resources. "We'd like to entrust the management of natural resources to a reliable person," Mikhail Fradkov said in view of this appointment.

    As for new Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko, the prime minister said he was a famous scientist.

    Former Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko is now heading the Ministry of Industry and Energy. According to Mr. Fradkov, this ministry will also oversee the defence industry, the construction, and housing and communal sectors.

    Mr. Fradkov elaborated on Igor Levitin who is now Transport Minister. According to Mr. Fradkov, Mr. Levitin served in the Soviet Army, and successfully took up business ten years ago. The combination of an officer's and a businessman's qualities will allow the new minister to have a fresh look at the transport development, said Mr. Fradkov.

    He also said that two macroeconomic structures - the Anti-trust Service and the Financial Market Regulation Service are to be supervised by the prime minister.

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