Russia’s major political players have all had something to say–most of it positive–about Putin’s victory. First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said that the fact Putin won in one round was a sign of a high level of “consolidation” within Russian society, and that this consolidation would improve Russia’s relations with international financial institutions. Many observers regard Kasyanov as the front-runner to become prime minister in Putin’s new cabinet. Sergei Shoigu–Russia’s emergency situations minister, head of the pro-Putin Unity party and one of the most influential members of the Russian cabinet–said that Putin would make changes in his cabinet, but gave no hint of what he thought these might be. Former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin said that Putin’s next task would be to form a “professional and well-coordinated” government.
For his part, former Economics Minister Yevgeny Yasin, who has advised the Putin team in developing its as-yet-unreleased economic program, said that the new cabinet’s top priorities during its first 100 days should be to draft new tax and land codes and push them through the parliament, and to take measures aimed at reviving Russia’s moribund banking system and strengthening and reforming its judicial system. Meanwhile, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, whose relations with the Kremlin began to warm up in the final days before the election, said that he was happy that Putin had won in a first round, adding that Putin “will strive to work together with Moscow” and that “the capital’s authorities want to work effectively with the federal center” (Russian agencies, March 27).
RUSSIA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY GATHERS STEAM.