The Man Who Would Be Russia's President

Vladimir Putin is a nationalist with pro-market leanings

On the weekend of Dec. 25, a small group of advisers to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin huddled at a countryside resort outside Moscow. Just a week earlier, the robust performance of the Kremlin-created Unity party had confirmed Putin as the front-runner to succeed lame duck Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential elections set for June, 2000. At the gathering, Putin's team was crafting a new economic program for him to take to the State Duma in the months ahead. The plan is expected to focus on tax reform.

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