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    BRITISH NEWSPAPERS COMMENT ON PUTIN'S VICTORY

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    LONDON, March 15 (RIA Novosti's Alexander Smotrov) - Vladimir Putin's election victory gives him an opportunity to continue reforms in Russia. This is the leitmotif of British morning newspapers' articles devoted to the results of the presidential elections in the Russian Federation on Sunday.

    "PRESIDENT PUTIN cruised towards a landslide election win yesterday that gives him an unprecedented mandate to drag Russia out of post-Soviet poverty and chaos but raises the spectre of autocratic rule.

    The President's supporters say that he will use his mandate to streamline the bureaucracy, stamp out corruption, improve welfare and retrieve some of the billions of dollars spirited out of the country in the Yeltsin years.

    Critics say that he will use his tsar-like powers to curb civil liberties and pave the way for handing power to his chosen heir in 2008, or perhaps seek a third term.

    Security was tight across the country during the vote yesterday, especially in Chechnya and in Moscow, where a suicide-bomb attack on the Metro killed about forty people last month," says The Times.

    "Vladimir Putin on Sunday won his predicted landslide re-election as Russian president, putting him under the spotlight to deliver on promises to boost economic growth, reduce poverty and reform the military over the next four years," says The Financial Times.

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