During the meeting, ideas were exchanged on all aspects of political reform. Representatives of unregistered political parties voiced a number of suggestions, which are to be discussed at a meeting of the working group headed by First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vyacheslav Volodin.
The setting of the working group to review the package of draft laws on political reforms was suggested by the President at his meeting with leaders of officially registered political parties held on February 15, 2012.
Taking part in the meeting were Konstantin Babkin (Party of Action), Sergei Baburin (Russian National Union), Mikhail Lermontov (For Our Fatherland Party), Yury Moskalyov (Path of Truth and Unity), Boris Nemtsov (Party of People’s Freedom for Russia without Arbitrariness and Corruption (PARNAS)), Anatoly Panfilov (The Greens), Vladimir Ryzhkov (Republican Party of Russia, PARNAS), Gennady Seleznyov (Russia’s Renaissance), Sergei Udaltsov (Russian United Labour Front (ROT Front)), Galina Khavrayeva (For Russia’s Women), and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vyacheslav Volodin.
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Opening remarks at the meeting with leaders of unregistered political parties
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon. Let me just say a few words before we start the discussion.
I wanted to meet with you, the leaders of political and public organisations that have either not yet obtained official registration, or at one point had it but subsequently lost it, in order to discuss the future of Russia’s political system in the context of the draft laws I submitted to the State Duma last December.
You represent a very wide range of political views, and I think this is probably a good thing if only because we all need to work out together what direction our political system should take in its development.
You know the substance of the proposals that I made. They aim to simplify the rules for registering political parties, change the procedures for vesting powers in regional governors, simplify some of the rules related to presidential elections, and change procedures for the State Duma’s election.
All of these draft laws are now on the table for examination, so let’s talk today about what you agree with, and perhaps do not entirely agree with, as well as any changes we could perhaps make, given that practically all of you, as I understand it, plan to register your political parties as soon as the laws are passed, and will play a much more active part in our country’s political life.
Naturally, I am ready to discuss other issues too, but I think we should concentrate primarily on our political system’s development and our vision of how we want it to look.
Our political system is far from ideal of course, and most of you here criticise it, sometimes in very harsh terms. But at the same time, if we want to change it, it is best to come to some common notions of where we want to take it.
I think the time is ripe for this. As you know, I have made changes to specific aspects of the political system over these last four years, and I think the time is right now to pursue this work more actively.
I met a few days ago in this same room with leaders of the officially registered political parties, and we also discussed these political reforms together. Let me be frank with you and say that not all of the parties are happy with the proposals, though this is probably only normal really.
It might sound strange, but I think that you here today will likely have some words of support for these proposals. You do not have official registration for your parties yet after all, and so an easing of the registration rules and general liberalisation of our political life are no doubt much bigger issues for you than for the political parties that have already long since established themselves in the political firmament.
So, let’s start work.