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Words in the News
Monday 29 December 2003
Putin and the Russian Duma
Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin, Russia's President addresses the newly elected lower house of the Russian parliament, the Duma in Moscow. This report by Steve Rosenberg:
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It seems like only yesterday that the Russian Duma looked more like a battering ram for the Kremlin's opponents than a parliament. In the 1990s it was too busy trying to impeach former president, Boris Yeltsin, to concern itself with passing laws. But not this Duma. After December's parliamentary election it's dominated by deputies loyal to the Kremlin. So it was fitting that one of this new Duma's first visitors was President Putin.

In a speech at the parliament's opening session Mr Putin congratulated deputies on their election, referring to those often stormy parliamentary sessions during the days of Boris Yeltsin. Russia's current leader noted that the country had changed since the first Russian Duma appeared ten years ago. In that time, the President said, parliament had moved away from political confrontation to constructive legislative work.

The Duma's priority now, said Mr Putin, should be to improve the lives of ordinary Russians, especially in the areas of education, health and by helping to develop a system of mortgages. Russia's leader said the deputies should never forget that state power comes from the people. At the end he received a standing ovation; it was perhaps to be expected, after all before the Duma elections earlier this month, the Kremlin had poured huge resources into making sure that the new parliament would be both supportive of the President and compliant.
Listen Listen to the words
it seems like only yesterday
it feels as if it was recently
battering ram
a long heavy piece of wood used to break down doors
to charge a politician with committing a serious crime connected with their job
members of the Russian parliament
it was fitting
it was suitable
angry and argumentative
arguments and disputes
constructive legislative work
passing laws
a standing ovation
when an audience stands and applauds (claps) the speaker or performer
willing and agreeable
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