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  Sunday, July 5, 2020
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Outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin held his last Cabinet meeting
Outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin held his last Cabinet meeting as head of state on Monday, as his eight-year rule entered its final week.

Putin, who has agreed to take up the premier's post on May 8, pledged closer cooperation between the Kremlin and the Russian government after his 'heir,' 42-year-old Dmitry Medvedev, is inaugurated as president on May 7.

"I am sure that working cooperation between the Russian presidential administration and the government will be continued and expanded," Putin said.

He also called for measures to enhance the efficiency of public administration in the country, which he said was facing new and challenging tasks in a number of key areas.

"These include building an innovation economy, improving public administration, strengthening the pensions system and establishing a new policy of social development," Putin said.

Putin launched the practice of holding conferences with the premier, the Kremlin administration chief and key ministers on a Monday back in 2000.

He has generally used such conferences to make statements or have Cabinet ministers report on key issues of Russian and international affairs. The early conferences tended to focus on defense and security, while economic and social issues have come to the fore in the past few years.

While Putin has often been criticized by both the West and Russia's tiny opposition movement for his crackdown on the country's independent media, his eight years in power have seen living standards in Russia rise and the country seek to reestablish a presence on the global stage. Fuelled by oil dollars, Moscow has strongly stated its opposition to NATO expansion and U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in central Europe.


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