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    RUSSIAN PREMIER: FEWER OFFICIALS NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S ONLY AIM

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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Reducing the number of officials is not the government's only aim, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced on Wednesday.

    "The situation with officials is difficult. Reduction of their number is not an end in itself, as the main goal is to re-group them," he emphasized. "They should work at the bottom, in agencies and services in compliance with the budget." "We are ready to decrease the bureaucratic staff, but the new government faces new tasks and we would be happy if officials' social conditions did not become worse," he pointed out.

    "We will try to eliminate the negative attitude towards officials and it is desirable that they should be better paid," Fradkov added.

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