Putin pursues liberal policy

Participants in the international conference, A Liberal Agenda For the New Century: A Global Perspective, that opened in Moscow on Friday stated Mr. Putin's commitment to the liberal development model.

After a meeting with the president, they told reporters about their impressions.

In particular, head of the Cato institute Edward H. Crane said that at the meeting Vladimir Putin had confirmed his commitment to the liberal agenda and stressed the need for ensuring freedom of the press in the liberal democratic society.

Another conferee, Chairman of the Cambridge Energy Research Associates Daniel Yergin noted that Mr. Putin was still an advocate of the free liberal economic model.

GDP can only be doubled with the participation of civil society in the next few years, Mr. Yergin quoted Mr. Putin as saying.

According to other conferees, the meeting discussed all the aspects of the reforms - their vector, pace, and also their legal framework.

Presidential adviser Andrei Illarionov who also attended the meeting said that Mr. Putin had thanked all the conferees for expressing their opinions and promised to take them into consideration, adding that the responsibility was on the Russian leadership, and "we are responsible for decision-making." Another participant in the meeting, New Zealand's former minister Ruth Richardson said she had advised Mr. Putin to take radical and active measures to reform the economy. She also pointed out the red-tape problems, which she described as "the hand brake".

In her opinion, Mr. Putin realizes the trust he is granted. At the same time, she continued, the blueprint of the reform is one issue and its implementation is a separate and the most difficult task. She concurred with Mr. Yergin that the reforms should be all-out and implemented on an equal basis.

President of the Institute of Free Market (Lithuania) Yelena Leontyeva said that the conferees had suggested the Russian president measures to promote the reforms, in particular - to cut budget expenditures.

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