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    PREDICTABILITY OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS DOES NOT MAKE THEM LESS IMPORTANT FOR THE COUNTRY

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    MOSCOW, March 12, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The Russian political analysts believe that the holding of the presidential elections is necessary even with the absence of real rivals.

    "Despite the absence of intrigue and elements of rivalry, these presidential elections are important for the country," Lilia Shevtsova, the leading analyst of the Carnegie Foundation "For International Peace," said at the news conference in RIA Novosti.

    "First of all, these elections finally close the historical epoch which lasted for fifteen years, and close the experiment, the aim of which was to modernize and reform Russia," the political analyst believes.

    Secondly, in her opinion, these elections "lay the foundation for a new epoch of development." "In the present situation, there is no other form to legitimize the power than through elections," she said.

    In his turn, Yevgeny Yasin, president of the Liberal Mission Fund, called the coming presidential elections on March 14 a very important and necessary event.

    "They are necessary even if somebody considers them predictable," Yasin said.

    Speaking about the new government, the political analyst expressed an opinion that "not a bad team" has got together in the new Cabinet.

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