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    FIRST MEETING OF NEW RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT TO BE HELD ON MARCH 11

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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The first meeting of the new Russian government headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will be held next Thursday, on March 11.

    The current state of housing and utilities in Russia is expected to be considered at the meeting.

    President Vladimir Putin announced the new composition of the government, which was almost halved, at the Tuesday meeting with the members of the Cabinet of Ministers. He said that he had signed the respective decrees on the appointment of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers.

    The new government, which will have three tiers, will consist of 17 Ministers instead of the previous 30, including Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

    The Cabinet of Ministers will consist of the Ministries themselves, the federal services and the federal agencies. According to the decrees on the appointments, signed by Putin, Alexander Zhukov became vice-chairman of the government, and Dmitry Kozak - the head of the government administration and federal Minister of the Russian Federation.

    German Gref heads the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Sergei Shoigu - the Ministry of Civil Defence, Emergency Situations and Elimination of the Consequences of Natural Calamities, Sergei Ivanov was appointed Defence Minister, Sergei Lavrov - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yuri Chaika - Minister of Justice, Rashid Nurgaliyev - Interior Minister, Mikhail Zurabov - Minister of Health and Social Development, Yuri Trutnev - Minister of Natural Resources, Igor Levitin - Minister of Transport and Communications, Alexei Kudrin - Minister of Finance, Alexei Gordeyev - Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Alexander Sokolov - Minister of Culture and Mass Media, Viktor Khristenko - Minister of Industry and Energy, and Andrei Fursenko - Minister of Education and Science.

    Igor Ivanov was named secretary of the Russian Federation's Security Council, having replaced Vladimir Rushailo on this post. According to diplomatic sources' information, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yuri Fedotov will become Russia's representative to the United Nations instead of Lavrov.

    The decrees on the appointment were signed in keeping with Item d of Article 83 of the Russian Federation's Constitution and come into force from the day of their signing, the Kremlin press service officials noted.

    Vladimir Putin abolished 13 Ministries, two State Committees, one federal commission, four federal services, and four agencies. According to the decree signed by president Putin, the Anti-Trust Policy Ministry, the Ministry of Atomic Energy, the Press Ministry, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Property Relations, the Ministry of Culture, the Education Ministry, the Ministry of Industry and Science, the Railways Ministry, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, the Transport Ministry, the Labour and Social Development Ministry, and the Energy Ministry were abolished.

    The State Committee on Fisheries and the State Committee on Physical Culture and Sport, as well as the federal commission on the securities market and a number of federal services, including the financial rehabilitation and bankruptcy service, were abolished.

    The Russian agencies on ammunition, on conventional arms, on control systems, and on ship-building were abolished.

    The head of state formed five new Ministries, 18 federal services, 20 federal agencies, and the federal treasury. The Ministry of Health and Social Development, the Ministry of Culture and Mass Media, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Industry and Energy, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications were set up.

    By Putin's decree the Ministry of Taxes and Duties was transformed into the Federal Tax Service, the State Committee on Standards was transformed into the Federal Service of Technical Regulation and Metrology, and the State Statistics Committee - into The Federal State Statistics Service.

    The State Committee on Construction, Housing and Communal Economy was transformed into the Federal Agency on Construction, Housing and Communal Economy, the State Customs Committee - into the Federal Customs Service, and the Federal Energy Commission was transformed into the Federal Tariffs Service.

    In accordance with the Cabinet's structure, the Russian Federation's government will be in charge of nine Ministries and two federal services: the Health and Social Development Ministry, the Ministry of Culture and Mass Media, the Education and Science Ministry, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Industry and Energy, the Agriculture Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Finance Ministry, and the Economic Development Ministry.

    Furthermore, the government is in charge of the federal anti-trust service and the federal financial markets service.

    The president of the Russian Federation will directly run five Ministries, five federal services, and two federal agencies. In keeping with the decree signed by Putin, their list includes the Interior Ministry, the Emergency Situations Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Defence Ministry, and the Justice Ministry.

    Besides that, the head of state directs the activity of the Russian Federation's State Courier Service, the Russian Federation's Foreign Intelligence Service, the FSB of Russia, the Federal Service for Control of Turnover of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances, and the Russian Federation's Federal Protection Service.

    Two agencies - the Main Directorate of Special Programmes of the Russian Federation's President and the Property Management Directorate of the Russian Federation's President - are also run by the president.

    Eight persons from the previous composition of the Cabinet of Ministers - German Gref, Sergei Shoigu, Sergei Ivanov, Yuri Chaika, Alexei Kudrin, Alexei Gordeyev, Viktor Khristenko and Andrei Fursenko - retained the posts in the new government.

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