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    AMERICAN POLITICAL ANALYST SAYS NATIONAL CONSENSUS THE BASIS FOR PUTIN'S VICTORY

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    WASHINGTON, March 16, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Arkady Orlov) - "A new national consensus" in the Russian society was the basis for Vladimir Putin's victory in the presidential elections, said Leon Aaron, a well-known political analyst and the head of the Russian Studies Program at the American Enterprise Institute.

    At a roundtable conference about the Russian presidential elections in Washington on Monday, Mr. Aaron said that the essence of the new consensus is "a widespread support for a stronger state and a more efficient government, to enforce laws and protect the weak."

    "I think that to this remarkable shift into what amounts a new consensus that Vladimir Putin owes his extraordinary popularity."

    "Instinctively or by desire and, likely, both, I think, he has come to embody and symbolize to millions of Russians this still very precarious balance between the old order and the new opportunities and uncertainties," Mr. Aaron said.

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