Putin’s Agenda in His Second Term
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.