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Putin Calls For Political Changes

13 September 2004 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned his cabinet today to discuss Russia's response to terrorism and announced initiatives to strengthen the powers of the central government.

During the meeting, Putin said he will soon submit a bill to parliament under which the Kremlin would name regional governors, who would then be confirmed by local legislatures -- instead of being elected by direct popular vote.

Putin also ordered the creation of a commission on the North Caucasus and appointed his representative in the southern federal district, Dmitrii Kozak, to lead it. The commission will deal with security, economic, and social issues.

Putin said he will soon recommend changing the system of electing Russia's lower house of parliament to a purely proportional system.

He said control from the central government is key to mobilizing the entire nation to conduct the fight against terrorism.