Determined to put Russia firmly on the road to capitalism by fostering full, free-market competition and ending most state controls of the economy, President Boris N. Yeltsin's cabinet gave preliminary approval Thursday to its boldest reform program.

Focused on the medium term, the program is aimed at taking Russia from its present period of stabilization following the collapse of the Soviet Union into an era of recovery and growth, a transition that other former socialist economies have found difficult to achieve.Alexei V. Ulyukayev, the cabinet spokesman, said that despite its radical nature the three-year program won broad government approval and will be presented to the country's legislature after final corrections.

The core of the program, according to a top government economist who helped draft it, is the promotion of entrepreneurship, both domestic and foreign, through the across-the-board removal of government barriers to private business activity.

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