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    PUTIN PROMISES TO ENSURE DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS

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    MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised that all the democratic achievements in Russia would be ensured and guaranteed.

    "We will not stop at what has been achieved and will consolidate the multiparty system. We will strengthen civil society and do everything it takes to provide freedom of the press," the Russian leader said at his meeting with reporters at his campaign headquarters last night. The meeting came shortly after the preliminary results of the Sunday elections were announced to confirm Putin's re-election for a second term.

    Federal parties should have a real influence in the regions so that the latter could influence the top power and administrative bodies as a whole, said Mr. Putin.

    In his opinion, once this task is solved, Russia's political system will become fairly balanced.

    Mr. Putin emphasized the need for developing the multiparty system in the country.

    "We should create conditions for parties of all directions to develop and be complied with. If we achieve this, we will have a solid basis for modern economic development," the re-elected president said.

    "At the same time, we will seek to prevent officials and rhetoricians from embezzlement under the disguise of national interests and democratic phraseology," Mr. Putin assured those present.

    The president-elect also said that he would spare no effort "to secure stable economic growth." He assured Russians that he would continue working at the same pace in the next four years and would do everything possible "to make the government work equally hard."

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