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#5 - JRL 7175
BBC Monitoring
"No alternative" to Putin in presidential election - Russian pundit
Source: Ekho Moskvy news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1218 gmt 7 May 03

No dateline, as received. As for today, there is no alternative to Vladimir Putin and he will be re-elected the Russian president for the second term, the managing director of the Centre for Political Strategies, Igor Bunin, has told Ekho Moskvy radio.

Bunin also supposed that the incumbent Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov would leave his post after the presidential election. However, the second term of office for Putin would be more complicated than the first one, Bunin said.

Over the past three years of his presidency, Putin fulfilled tasks set by him right after coming to power, but now he has "lost objectives", Bunin said. The objectives Putin set three years ago have already been implemented (though they did not bring about the effects on which the president counted), but new tasks have not been yet set, he said.

Putin managed to "put an end to the system which existed during Boris Yeltsin's time"; to carry out the reforms (land, labour and judicial), which were not carried out in 1990s and "to join the G8", that is to make the international community to recognize him as a fully-fledged member, Bunin said.

What Putin has already done is a progress. Not all hopes of the people have been met, but it relates to high expectations with regard to the new president, Bunin said.

Now Putin is facing a task of setting new objectives, "otherwise there will be a deja vu", Bunin said. In his opinion, Putin should now strive to establish a monocentric as received system, to resolve economic issues trying to avoid dependence on oil prices, as well as "to define his place in the world order: either we admit the USA's dominating place in the world , or not - and in this case we have to play a more complicated game".

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