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    MOST RUSSIANS APPROVE OF NEW PRIME MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, March 19, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Nikolai Zherebtsov). The majority of Russians approve of Russia's new Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

    The data to this effect were made public Friday by the independent sociological research agency ROMIR Monitoring (ROMIR is the acronym for "Russian public opinion and market research").

    These data were obtained on the basis of the nationwide poll conducted among 1,600 adult Russians in 107 urban and rural areas of Russia from March 11 to 15.

    The respondents were asked the following question: "What is your first impression of the new prime minister Mikhail Fradkov?".

    48% of the respondents said that their impression was positive. Some 17% of the respondents expressed their negative attitude to the prime minister, and 35% were in doubt as to their opinion.

    At the same time, the majority of the respondents, i.e. 71%, believe that the new Russian government will be able to carry out the necessary economic and social reforms in the country (at least to some extent), 18% do not believe this, and the remaining 11% of the respondents could not give any answer to this question.

    It is noteworthy that Russians were surprisingly unanimous in their opinions; their replies differed but insignificantly in all groups of the respondents, irrespective of their gender, age, social status or place of residence.

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