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Russia: Mixed Reactions To Putin's Proposals

Moscow, 18 May 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian politicians today had mixed reactions to President Vladimir Putin's plan to overhaul the legislature and give him the power to dismiss regional governors. In announcing his proposals last night on national television, Putin said he wanted to reestablish "a functioning vertical power" in the country. "This is not only right--it's simply necessary in order to reestablish a functioning vertical power in this country. I stress the fact that all the laws I proposed completely fit into the framework of the present constitution."

The speaker of the Federation Council, Yegor Stroyev, said the plan was long overdue. Gennady Seleznyov, the speaker of the State Duma, backed the proposal, and Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov was also supportive.

Regional leaders, however, were critical of the plan, especially a provision that would allow Putin to dismiss regional governors. Ruslan Aushev, the president of the southern republic of Ingushetia said the plan was an attempt to control everything from Moscow, similar to the Soviet era. Aman Tuleev, the governor of the Siberian region of Kemerovo, said Putin's plan could be used to punish "disobedient governors."

Putin was expected to submit his plan to the State Duma in the next few days. Both houses must approve it.