The meeting discussed ways to combat extremism, which, as Mr Putin said, has manifested itself as a very serious problem in the modern world in general, including in Russia.
The President stressed that fighting extremism is one of the state’s top priorities, but effective results in this combat can be achieved only if civil society and political parties also take a clear stand and play their part.
Mr Putin called on the leaders of the political parties to show a responsible attitude and not allow extremism to manifest itself during upcoming election campaigns. Russia’s multiethnic and religiously diverse society must know and feel at all times that the country’s political parties have a clear and united position on this issue. During elections, parties are battling each other to win over the voters, and this is natural, but this is also a time when parties have a much greater responsibility for preserving social stability.
All those who preach racial, ethnic or religious hatred must know that their views will meet with fitting resistance, Mr Putin said.
Mr Putin also noted how easy it is to get access to materials propagandising hatred and division, including on the Internet.
Mr Putin proposed establishing a political consultative council in which the participants in the meeting would take part to discuss the fight against extremism and other crucial issues for the development of Russia’s political system. The proposal was supported by all present.
Taking part in the meeting were Chairman of United Russia Boris Gryzlov, Chairman of A Just Russia: Rodina/Pensioners/Life Sergei Mironov, Chairman of the Russian Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the People’s Will National Renaissance Party Sergei Baburin, Chairman of the Union of Right Forces Federal Political Council Nikita Belykh, Chairman of the People’s Party of Russia Gennady Gudkov, Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Chairman of the United Socialist Party’s General Council Vladimir Shestakov, Chairman of Russian United Democratic Party Yabloko Grigory Yavlinsky, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov.
Later the President signed a law making amendments to the electoral laws and aimed at improving electoral procedures and preventing extremist activity during elections and referendums.