DATE=5/10/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / POLITICS (L) NUMBER=2-262185 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally nominated a liberal economist, Mikhail Kasyanov, to become the country's new Prime Minister. Moscow correspondent Eve Conant reports Russia's parliament has one week to vote on Mr. Putin's choice and is expected to approve the nomination. TEXT: President Putin has submitted Mikhail Kasyanov's nomination for prime minister to Russia's lower house of parliament. The 42-year old Mr. Kasyanov has served as Mr. Putin's de facto cabinet chief since Boris Yeltsin's surprise resignation on December 31st catapulted Mr. Putin into power. Mr. Kasyanov also previously served as Russia's Finance Minister and is known abroad for his professional handling of Russia's external debt. Most observers regard the nomination of the liberal economist as a sign that Russia's new government, which has yet to be formed, will work toward achieving Western-style market reforms. His nomination is also viewed as a sign Mr. Putin wants to distance himself from economic affairs by appointing a specialist to run the country's turbulent economy. Russia's prospective new prime minister on Wednesday said the government's long-awaited economic program should be finished soon. /// ACT KASYANOV IN RUSSIAN IN FULL AND FADE UNDER /// Mr. Kasyanov says, "we are still working on the plan and hope to have it finished by late May or early June. Soon the government will be able to start carrying out the new program." The economic plan is expected to detail how President Putin and his team plan to fulfill the new president's pledge to revive Russia's ailing economy and improve the living standards of the tens of millions of Russians who overwhelmingly voted him into office. If Mr. Kasyanov is to become his prime minister, he must first gain the approval of Russia's parliament. However, the recently elected lower house is now dominated by parties that support Mr. Putin. The appointment of Mikhail Kasyanov as prime minister is not expected to face much opposition, says deputy speaker Vladimir Lukin. /// ACT LUKIN IN RUSSIAN IN FULL AND FADE UNDER /// "I cannot say that the lawmakers will vote unanimously," he says. "But I'm sure most will vote in favor of the nomination, not because of Mr. Kasyanov's personality, but simply because he is President Putin's choice." ///OPT TO END/// Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, who lost to Mr. Putin in the presidential race in March, was less accepting of the nomination. ///ACT ZYUGANOV IN RUSSIAN IN FULL AND FADE UNDER/// "We know what he is like as a negotiator, says Mr. Zyuganov, but we're not familiar with his ability to manage industry or agriculture -- issues any prime minister will have to deal with." (Signed) NEB/EC/GE/KL 10-May-2000 09:23 AM EDT (10-May-2000 1323 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .