Questions discussed included economic and social development issues, support for science, education and high-tech production, and also the situation in the world following Georgia’s aggression in South Ossetia.
Commenting on events in the Caucasus and the reactions of some members of the international community, Mr Medvedev said that no new external circumstances or outside pressure could turn Russia from its strategic course of building a free, progressive and democratic state and society.
The President noted that the recent events have proven the maturity and responsibility of Russia’s civil society and shown the level of development the country’s democracy has reached. Mr Medvedev called civil peace one of modern Russia’s greatest achievements and stressed how important it was that the events that took place did not affect the country’s stability or spark xenophobia and interethnic strife.
At the same time, the crisis in the Caucasus proved the ineffectiveness of the current security system in the world and highlighted the need to conclude a new European treaty on security, the President said.
Mr Medvedev also addressed the economic situation in the world and expressed regret that global economic issues were not a key item on the agenda at the last G8 summit in Japan. Agreeing on some common rules in the crisis situation could have considerably lessened the consequences of the depression on the American stock and financial markets, the President said.
Mr Medvedev said that innovative development is a top priority for the Russian economy because only by modernising the country is it possible to build a strong and influential Russia.
The President stressed that Russia is committed to full dialogue with its main international partners.
Attending the meeting were members of the Public Council, public and religious organisations, people of arts, the cultural, academic and education communities.