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    MOSCOW, April 1, 2004. (RIA Novosti)-Following a government session, Dmitry Kozak, the head of the government's administration, said that nine ministers would each have two deputies.

    He said that nine ministries would have two deputy ministers after the government's restructuring, while there would be only 100 department heads instead of the previous 250.

    Mr. Kozak announced that all the ministers would announce who their deputies would be in the coming weeks. "By next Thursday," he said, "all the key aides and all the deputies will have been appointed or at least the candidatures will have been put forward to the government." He also pointed out that all the inter-ministry disagreements about zones of responsibility had been settled.

    "There are no disagreements between the ministries about zones if responsibility," he said, "although there were such issues last week, as to who would be responsible for what." "Everything has been settled now," Mr. Kozak said, before adding that there could be many nuances when it comes to confirming the Government Statutes, which will include detailed descriptions of the ministries' functions.

    However, he emphasized that the form of work for fourteen ministries had already been set out.

    Ministries that are directly subordinated to the President would be affected to the reform process just like every other department.

    According to Kozak, the clarification of the structure and staffing levels of these ministries does not have any relation to the competence of the government. "But this does not mean," he said, "that their structure, and the overall number of staff will stay the same." He said that a decision on this score would be taken some time later.

    Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin expressed his confidence that, after his ministry had presented its proposals for wages changes, the reform of the law enforcement and defense ministries would proceed quicker.

    The ministries of defense, internal affairs, foreign affairs, justice and emergency situations are directly subordinated to the President.

    Mr. Kozak also reported that proposals to reform the natural monopolies - Gazprom and UES Russia - would be drawn up by the Ministry of Industry and Energy.

    The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, which up to this point had been responsible for this task, will be involved in it, as reforms in this sphere have a great influence on the country's macroeconomics.

    Mr. Kozak also explained that the decision to transfer the reform of the natural monopolies to a different ministry had been taken in view of the increased role for federal ministries. If several ministries are involved in the decision-making process, then the Economic Development Ministry will play a coordinating role", Mr. Kozak said. (nat/sm)

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