Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding a Kremlin meeting with the leadership of Federation group of the upper chamber of Russian parliament. The head of state has noted that over the nine months since the group was established it has managed to do the main thing -- "to retain the rate and quality of the Federation Council's operation during the transitional period". Now in the Federation Council, earlier made up of the heads of the Russian regions, their representatives are beginning to work. "Many feared that in the period of cadre rotation (in the Federation Council) malfunctions may happen. But this has not been the case," noted the president. This is the merit of the Federation group and parliamentary speaker Yegor Stroyev, said Vladimir Putin. The Federation Council "has managed to focus on the main thing," noted the president. One of the main areas of the Federation Council's work is the 2002 draft budget, said Vladimir Putin. In addition, legal support for the tax and pension reforms is now on the agenda, he continued. The renovated upper chamber "has won a good repute" in the adoption of bills. "I hope you will keep backing me in the future," said the head of state. He understands that now it is no smooth going for senators. They have to develop a new area of work, "above all protecting the interests of regions and, on the other hand, the senator cannot be a politician of the federal level". Putin invited members of the Federation Council "to remember that there are no what is called federal-center interests but there are national interests". "Regional interests should be taken into account and combined with state interests," said the president.
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