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    PUTIN BEGAN LOOKING FOR A SUCCESSOR 4 YEARS AGO

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    MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he had begun looking for a successor four years ago.

    He announced this to reporters who gathered at his campaign headquarters last night.

    According to Mr. Putin, this should be "a decent, honest person who wants and is capable to serve his people." "There are enough of such people in the country," said Mr. Putin.

    Later on, when asked about his possible successor, he said, "Do you want me to tell you in what area I should be looking for him [her]? There are many areas where a candidate can be found. For example, who could have expected to find a prime minister in Russia's representation in the EU?" he said [hinting at Mr. Fradkov].

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