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    NEW RUSSIAN MINISTERS FOR GREATER RESPONSIBILITIES: FINANCE MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 9, RIA NOVOSTI - Fradkov cabinet ministers will have greater power and responsibilities even than vice-premiers in the previous Kasyanov cabinet, forecasts Alexei Kudrin, Finance Minister, by way of comment on new ministerial appointments and a deep-going federal executive reform.

    Vice-premiers were numerous in all Russian governments of the preceding ten years. New government arrangements, with the posts abolished, may look surprising-but they will certainly be far more efficient, with quicker decision-making and drastically reduced costs of personnel upkeep, he said to the media.

    Drafted with active involvement of Dmitri Kozak of the Kremlin staff, and later approved by President Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Fradkov, new Prime Minister, the reformed pattern is the most competitive of all possible options, as Mr. Kudrin sees it.

    To make cabinet reform a success, the chief of government staff will need special powers, added the Finance Minister on the previous and new cabinets, as he highlighted Mr. Kozak's appointment to the crucial job.

    "Mr. Kozak was among the foremost on a team which blueprinted the government reform. Now, the President has appointed him to work under Premier Mikhail Fradkov to bring the administrative reform to final success," said the minister while pointing out the latter as the most necessary to Russia of all its current reforms.

    The government chief of staff's power will skyrocket now that the staff has new duties, and the reform has put an end to its function of a mere double of other agencies, he stressed.

    Of special importance is an essential task the Prime Minister and his chief of staff will be sharing for a long time ahead-to prevent now streamlined administrative bodies from bloating back again, Alexei Kudrin added with great emphasis.

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