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    PUTIN BELIEVES FRADKOV WILL MAKE GOOD PRIME MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes Mikhail Fradkov will be a successful premier.

    "I hope he will be a very successful prime minister. There exist all prerequisites for this," Mr. Putin told journalists in his election staff last night.

    Speaking about Mr. Fradkov's appointment to the post of government chairman, Mr. Putin said many people did not understand this decision at first. "However, I think such understanding will come, and I feel society's understanding and positive attitude," the Russian president said.

    Speaking about the premier, Mr. Putin said: "He is a competent, positive and honest person. He is very hard-working. He is exigent, and at the same time nice and tactful. I am confident it is very important, too. One may look a refined highly intelligent man but be a complete cad. This often happens to officials. Mikhail Yefimovich is not like this." "As for the presidency, four years are ahead. Why should we speak about it now?" Mr. Putin said. "Everything changes so quickly here, and life is so tense." Mr. Putin said there are a lot of talented and honest people in Russia. "Look, there are more and more of them even on the political scene. Some people are laughed at, some taken seriously. Today they are laughed, but tomorrow the situation may change," Mr. Putin said.

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