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Putin’s Agenda in His Second Term

March 14, 2004

MOSCOW (AP) _ A list of pledges on which President Vladimir Putin made little or no progress during his first term in office:

_Ending the war in Chechnya: Putin rose to power on promises to beat back Chechen rebels, but Russian troops and police remain mired in the conflict in the mountainous southern region.

_Curbing corruption: Independent monitors say that corruption has actually grown under Putin, in daily life and for entrepreneurs.

_Introducing a professional army: Putin backpedalled on promises to switch over fully to a force of contract soldiers, saying Russia will always have to depend to some extent on the draft to fill out the military.

_Tax reform: Putin introduced a popular 13 percent flat income tax but failed to simplify corporate taxes or significantly reduce payroll taxes, prompting most Russian companies to pay employees under the table.

_Other economic reforms: Banking reform has been slow, and promised reform of the natural gas and electricity utilities, which would entail painful cuts of subsidies for the population, has stalled.

_Administrative reform: Putin promised to cut bureaucracy but ranks of civil servants remain bloated.

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