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    PUTIN EXPECTS GOVERNMENT TO BE FORMED SOON

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    MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin expects that the Government will be formed within the next few weeks.

    "It [the Government] is not fully functional yet, and I expect that its formation will not last months but will be completed within several weeks. If we did not do it [the formation of the Cabinet] now, we would not complete the work until September," Mr. Putin told reporters at his election headquarters last night.

    Speaking about the reform of the Government, Mr. Putin said, "the goal was to build a new structure of the Cabinet of Ministers." He underscored the necessity of primarily reducing the governmental apparatus. "The government apparatus, which is, as a matter of fact, a shadow Cabinet, should be cut radically," said Mr. Putin.

    He said that the situation when the coordination of very important issues of military and economic cooperation with foreign states lasts 18 months, "round after round," was not permissible.

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