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Russia's Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov summed up on Tuesday the outgoing
Russia's Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov summed up on Tuesday the outgoing government's work at its last session ahead of the inauguration of the new president.

Under the Constitution, the government should resign before a new president is inaugurated, but will continue performing its duties until a new Cabinet is formed. The new president, Dmitry Medvedev, will be inaugurated on May 7.

"On the whole these seven months have been productive in scale and the volume of tasks we had to solve. Today, summing up the results, I can say that much has been achieved," Zubkov said.

He said the government had prioritized social issues, focused on the implementation of priority national projects and submitted to the State Duma a package of amendments to improve living standards.

At its last session the government approved an action plan for the economics ministry to achieve qualitative and quantitative goals set for this year, a deputy economics minister, Andrei Klepach, told the press.

He said the economic ministry's key task for 2008 would be to finish drawing up a long-term development strategy.

"These are the main plans, which are needed over the next 12 years, to reorganize and build an innovative Russia with a new, competitive economy by 2020," Klepach said.

Zubkov's government took office in September 2007 amid a global financial crisis and soaring commodity prices around the world. As a result, the government failed to keep inflation within the target of 8% last year, which soared to 11.9%.

The outgoing government also failed to make active inroads in the fight against corruption despite high expectations, instigated by Zubkov himself. His address to the Duma last September focused on corruption.

"We should adopt a law on corruption. We talk a lot about corruption, but actually have no strict definition of what it means, and nobody knows how to fight it today ... We should establish a body, an authorized department that would deal with corruption problems daily," the premier said.

However, an anti-corruption body has not been set up in the past seven months, and anti-corruption laws have yet to be adopted.

Zubkov's government has launched an expansive regional policy, however, with priorities being Vladivostok as the venue for the 2012 APEC summit and Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Zubkov also introduced the practice of visiting regions before government sessions.

Zubkov also introduced closed sessions for Cabinet meetings. Open meetings were started by his predecessor Mikhail Fradkov. Under Zubkov, reporters have only had access to his opening speech and briefings following Cabinet sessions.

This will be the eleventh time the government has resigned in Russia's recent history, and the fifth before the inauguration of the new president.


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