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    NO REASON FOR THE WEST TO FEAR RUSSIA - GORBACHEV

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    MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - "The West should dump fear of Russia. There's no reason for such fear", ex-USSR President Gorbachev told the press conference on the 20th anniversary of perestroika.

    Mr. Gorbachev said that he personally shares the Russian policy course and thinks it essentially right.

    "Reform is carried out in the interests of the majority of the people, not clans or families", he said.

    He thinks the YUKOS case should not alert or shoo Western investors.

    "In the beginning, I could not agree with the arrest. But, if YUKOS has hidden billions of dollars in the offshore zones from taxation, it has to answer", Mr. Gorbachev said.

    The ex-USSR president added that he is convinced that railways, the energy, oil and gas, defense sectors should remain in the hands of the state.

    Mr. Gorbachev also believes that the authorities should be interested in maintaining freedom of the mass media and especially television channels.

    "Power should be interested in freedom of the press. But the mass media have been divided between big companies and power washes its hands saying it is not involved. It just cannot be neutral", Mr. Gorbachev said.

    In addition, he said he is strongly against realization of Law 122 on benefit payments and thinks that the state should preserve the old system of free education.

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