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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Putin reform plans alarm press
By Steven Rosenberg
BBC correspondent in Moscow

Russians watch President Putin's speech on televisions in a shop
Mr Putin announced the new measures on Monday

President Vladimir Putin's plans to centralise power dominate today's Russian newspapers.

Izvestia's headline is "September Revolution".

It describes the proposed reforms as "the most radical of Vladimir Putin's presidency".

The idea of appointing regional governors, the paper says, means that the Kremlin leader has finally taken upon himself full responsibility for everything that happens in the country.

Gazeta warns that the reforms will lead to more bureaucracy and to the Kremlin's total control over Russia's political system.

'Effective security'

Novaya Izvestia doubts whether changes in how the Russian parliament is elected will, as Mr Putin predicts, aid the war on terror.

It contrasts the Kremlin's plans with the measures taken by US President George W Bush after 11 September 2001.

Mr Bush, it says, emphasised the need to make the US special services' intelligence and the entire system of security more effective.

It never occurred to President Bush, the paper continues, to think about whether Congress was elected the right way or not.

Comments in Komsomolskaya Pravda warn of chaos, with Kremlin-appointed regional leaders likely to feel themselves above criticism.

"In what country are we going to wake up tomorrow?" it asks.

And the opposition Nezavisimaya Gazeta describes the changes as the biggest mistake of Mr Putin's presidency.

"These reforms," it says, "will make the system of government less efficient and more corrupt."


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