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    Putin calls for stronger economic role of the regions

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    MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for raising the role of the regions in Russia's economic development and for transferring the authority of the regional administrations to the federation members."We should start a brand new phase in relations between federation members [89 of them in Russia] when the regions play a far more important role and bear more responsibility for [national] economic development," the Russian president said at a session of the State Council Thursday.

    Putin will also chair another session of the State Council due in Kaliningrad later in the day. The session will consider ways of increasing the role that federation members play in Russia's socioeconomic development.

    Putin said a good political and legal framework had already been worked out for cooperation between power bodies of different levels. He added that each federation member would be able to make use of their competitive advantages.

    According to Putin, the starting point should be consistent delimitation of authority.

    "To this end, we should not only completely revise of the [existing] functions, but also divide the authority and lay it down in legislation, without any subsequentv amendments or abolition," said the president.

    Putin also demanded a detailed analysis of the budget consequences of delimitating authority between different levels of power. He said, "such sensitive decisions cannot be based on any generalizations, exaggerations or approximate assessment."

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