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    EXPERTS MAKE FORECASTS ON POSSIBLE SUCCESSOR TO PUTIN IN 2008

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    MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - A man slightly over forty, liberally-minded, an economist but probably "a legal expert from St. Petersburg", or even a serviceman. This is the portrait political scientists made of Russia's President-2008.

    Vladimir Putin has not yet assumed office for the second time (it will happen on May 7), but the Russian expert community is already talking about elections-2008.

    Leaders of analytical institutes making part of the National Strategy Council were the first to talk about elections-2008. They made public at a Thursday press conference the "portrait" of Russia's next president, successor to Putin.

    "It will be a man. Such are the peculiarities of Russia's archaic political culture," said Sergei Markov, the head of the Political Studies Institute. He suggested introducing gender quotas for parties at the next parliamentary elections.

    "There is a successor," said Maksim Dianov who heads the Institute of Regional Problems. He believes this person will meet the expectations of those voters who supported Putin at the March 14 elections this year.

    "Speaking about an opposition candidate is just senseless," Mr. Dianov believes.

    In the opinion of political scientists, the future president is known in the Kremlin circles, is ready for a compromise, is known to the public and is not an oligarch.

    Experts of the Council that frightened the country last spring with "a conspiracy of oligarchs", which was a prologue to the Yukos case (Khodorkovsky), are sure that this danger is gone.

    "It is understood that an oligarch in Russia will not be the President." Those involved in privatization deals cannot be popular, Mr. Dianov said.

    Experts voiced a list of well known names. All these people were in the forecasts of political scientists about who will be the Premier after Mikhail Kasyanov's resignation.

    None of Russian experts was able to foretell the name of Mikhail Fradkov, Russian Prime Minister, though.

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