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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ms Matviyenko, please accept my congratulations.
This is a very important event for our nation because the Federation Council as the upper house of Parliament should have its rightful place in the political system of our society and our state.
I wish you every success in your post as Speaker of the Federation Council and in the organisation of its activities. This is very demanding work but you have the right skills acquired in your posts at the federal level, and you were very effective as governor of St Petersburg. I am confident that you will succeed.
As the President, I would like the Federation Council to take its rightful place in the political system of our state, for it to function as the upper house should, allowing the state to address a variety of tasks, reflecting the position of the regions, which the Federation Council represents, and sometimes adopting a principled position – there is nothing wrong with the Federation Council using the power of veto when the house believes that the regions’ interests are not protected adequately, or there is doubt as to the content of this or that draft law. Generally speaking, the upper house should be a full-fledged part of the Parliament and I am confident you have the energy and every chance to intensify the work of the upper house, to make it meaningful, based on the Constitution and our laws, and most importantly, beneficial for our country, our society and our people.
Ms Matviyenko, given that the post of Federation Council Speaker is very high in the hierarchy of public offices, I have today signed an executive order making you a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Finally, there will be a woman in our team. I am very happy about that.
Once again, congratulations and I wish you success in organising the work of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko: Mr President, thank you for your support. I would also like to thank my colleagues, the Senators, who showed their confidence in me yesterday. I fully agree with everything you said because I think you have placed the right emphasis: we must do everything possible to enhance the role and authority of the Federation Council in the legislative process. The Federation Council should become more active in promoting the interests of the regions at the national level, which is the mission of the upper house, because it has both representative and legislative functions. I will make every effort to achieve this. At the same time, the Federation Council must act as a filter for raw, unpolished draft laws.
We will build up constructive cooperation with the State Duma, making sure that Federation Council members become more closely involved in the drafting of laws and their adoption, that the Federation Council’s voice is heard, that all the laws that affect the regions’ interests are closely examined in the regions and the Federation Council, and that regional interests are reflected in them. I feel very positive and enthusiastic, so I have already met with many of the Federation Council members, with chairs of committees, and we are all determined to do productive work.
Dmitry Medvedev: I am glad to hear it, so let me wish you all the best once again.