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DATE=6/7/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA REFORMS (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-263259 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russia's President Vladimir Putin is encountering opposition in parliament to several key legislative initiatives. VOA's Peter Heinlein in Moscow reports that Mr. Putin suffered a rare setback when he was forced to ask lawmakers to delay their debate on portions of a tax reform bill. TEXT: President Putin's honeymoon with parliament may be over. Exactly one month after he was sworn in, many Russian lawmakers seem to be putting aside their early spirit of cooperation and preparing to fight proposed reforms. Last month, Mr. Putin called for a dramatic shakeup in the upper house of parliament, the federation council. The plan calls for stripping governors and heads of regional legislatures of their seats in the house and replacing them with appointed legislators. In their first meeting since the proposal was announced, members of the federation council vented their fury. Ruslan Aushev, governor of the southern republic of Ingushetia, called the idea an insult to voters who elected their representatives. /// AUSHEV ACT IN RUSSIAN, THEN FADE TO. //// Governor Aushev says, "Don't make us useless. We have been elected legally. So don't use us as something to wipe your feet on." Governor Alexander Rutskoi of the Kursk region said President Putin's plan would undermine the balance of powers among the branches of government. /// RUTSKOI ACT IN RUSSIAN, THEN FADE TO./// Governor Rutskoi says, "The foundation on which government's power is based is being shifted. The upper house is being destroyed." The lower house, or Duma, also witnessed opposition to a key reform measure, this one to streamline the tax system. Some lawmakers and trade unions say parts of the proposed reform will result in cutting social benefits to workers and pensioners. The outcry was so strong that the government was forced to ask for a delay in the debate on a controversial new social security tax law. As unions held protest demonstrations outside parliament and Communist lawmakers denounced the proposal, President Putin's envoy to the Duma asked that consideration of the measure be postponed until Friday to allow time for amendments. (Signed) NEB/PFH/GE/ENE/KL 07-Jun-2000 11:19 AM EDT (07-Jun-2000 1519 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .