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Medvedev Stresses Importance of Freedom, Legal Reforms


Russian First Deputy Prime Minister and presidential candidate Dmitri Medvedev says freedom, fighting corruption and judicial reforms will be the focus of his administration.

Medvedev - who is favored to win the March second presidential election - Friday said providing more freedom to Russians would be his top priority. He said he wants improved living standards and equal opportunities for Russians. He spoke in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, where he addressed an economic forum.

He also said the country must have an independent judiciary and described corruption as Russia's most serious disease.

Later he told reporters that Russia and the United States share common values and have no choice but to cooperate with each other.

Russia's constitution bars President Vladimir Putin from seeking a third consecutive term and he handpicked Medvedev as his successor.

Mr. Putin has said could serve as prime minister if Medvedev is elected, thus retain a major role in the government.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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