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    GIST OF PUTIN'S WORDS ON REFORMS IN RUSSIA WILL SOON BE CLEAR, SAYS AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENTIST

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    WASHINGTON, MARCH 15 (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT ARKADY ORLOV) - The presidential elections in Russia, which resulted in Vladimir Putin's victory, will very soon let us know what sense the Russian head of state put in his declarations on the need to continue reform and Russia's interaction with the West.

    This was said by well known American political scientist Celeste Wallander, director, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Russia and Eurasia Program.

    "After March 14, we will be able to see whether President Putin's oft- stated commitment to liberal economic market reforms and Western integration are meaningful statements and guides to Russian policy," she said.

    "President Putin has now, even before the presidential election, created a slimmer government staffed by ministers with little independent profile, thereby likely to implement his policies and priorities," believes Wallander.

    "If instead Russia continues to extend state control over business, resist transparency and rule of law, which are necessary components of a market economy, the American government -- and American investors -- will draw conclusions that Russia in Putin's second term will be at best a limited partner," Wallander emphasized.

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