Duma Will Pass Over 600 Bills

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said Tuesday that deputies would pass more than 600 bills during the spring session and prioritize legislation on President Vladimir Putin's social initiatives.

"It goes without saying that the priority will be on the bills implementing President Vladimir Putin's initiative to raise salaries to workers paid from the federal budget and military men as early as Feb. 1, 2008," Gryzlov said, Interfax reported.

A tentative list of the bills recommended for consideration by Duma committees will be confirmed at the Duma's first plenary meeting Friday, Gryzlov said.

The agenda for Friday's meeting will be set Thursday by Gryzlov and the Duma's 10 deputy speakers, seven of whom are members of United Russia.

Gryzlov said he believed that the new Duma would work more effectively than the previous one as a result of the reshuffle in its committees. Like the last Duma, the new one is dominated by United Russia, the pro-Kremlin party that Gryzlov leads. United Russia's Duma deputies include nine former athletes and at least five former magazine cover girls. It also includes 40 members of the siloviki -- former military and security service officials who have risen to power under President Vladimir Putin.

A landslide victory in Dec. 2 elections gave United Russia a constitutional majority in the new Duma. Only three other parties won seats: the Communists, the Liberal Democratic Party and A Just Russia.