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15 Jan, 2008 11:17

Putin pushes for greater social reform

Vladimir Putin is using his last few months as Russian President to place social welfare at the heart of the election for his successor. Putin wants the four national projects – education, health care, housing and agriculture – to be

Putin said social reform would be United Russia's focus during the Presidential campaign.

“We already have experience of developing social areas during our national projects work. It would be prudent not to cancel those national projects in the coming years, but instead to transform them into state programmes targeting specific results,” Putin said.

Putin’s likely successor, Dmitry Medvedev, has been in charge of the four national projects.

RT's political commentator, Peter Lavelle says the new suggestion means several changes. The state programmes “will become like departments and ministries where they would be very well-funded”.

“I think it's very important as part of the presidential campaign. This is a political season and people are going to use whatever they can to take the advantage,” Lavelle said.

“During the presidential campaign attention will be focused on social politics. It's clear we find success in social politics, because it's aimed at satisfying people's vital needs. And I also want to stress that in this work there is no place for populism and vain promises,” President Putin said.
These are billions of dollars, Lavelle says. And what the government has to do is to make sure the money is spent efficiently.

“Medvedev has made it very clear that he wants transparent investment and even private investors can get involved into these programmes,” our commentator says.