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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Putin looks to polls as PM chosen
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Mr Putin described the new PM as "a real professional"
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has said new Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov is "one of five" people who could replace him as president next year.

Mr Putin was speaking after his surprise nomination of Mr Zubkov as PM was accepted by 381 votes to 47 in the lower house of parliament.

Mr Zubkov said his priorities would be to ensure stability and innovation in the economy and to tackle corruption.

Mr Putin did not identify the five he thought might run for president.

However, Mr Zubkov did not rule himself out, saying: "If I get something done here, in this post of prime minister, then I do not exclude that."

Mr Putin described Mr Zubkov as "a real professional, a brilliant administrator".

'Citizens have a choice'

The president said there had been criticism last year that the field for the presidential election on 2 March 2008 was "empty".

Viktor Zubkov on 13 September 2007
Corruption should be inadmissible at any level
Viktor Zubkov
Russian Prime Minister

On Friday, he said: "Now there are a minimum of five people who can stand for president."

Two figures that have been in the frame for the top post are joint first deputy prime ministers Sergei Ivanov and Dmitry Medvedev.

"Russian citizens will have a choice," Mr Putin said.

After his appointment, Mr Zubkov, 65, told MPs that corruption "permeates our society" and a law was needed to fight it systematically.

He pledged to develop Russia's "traditionally strong sectors" such as the aircraft industry and shipbuilding.

Mr Zubkov is a former financial crime investigator who has worked as a state farm manager.

He also served in the St Petersburg city administration, where he was a colleague of Mr Putin.

Among his government's priorities, Mr Zubkov listed:

  • keeping inflation down and preventing sharp rouble fluctuations

  • government help for Russia's defence industry to recover from years of neglect

  • Russian oil and gas, forest, fish and other natural riches should bring more revenue

The new prime minister said that in Russia "we speak a lot about corruption, yet there is no clear-cut definition of what corruption is, and nobody knows how to fight it".

He said a law was needed to set up a body like the department he once headed (Rosfinmonitoring - the Federal Financial Monitoring Service), "to deal with corruption issues regularly, on a day-to-day rather than ad hoc basis".

Viktor Zubkov's selection explained

Putin names next prime minister
12 Sep 07 |  Europe
Profile: Viktor Zubkov
12 Sep 07 |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
12 Sep 07 |  Country profiles

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