Taking part in the meeting were Speaker of the Federation Council and Chairman of the Just Russia party Sergei Mironov, Chairman of the United Russia Supreme Council and State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, Deputy State Duma Speaker and deputy head of the United Russia parliamentary party Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy State Duma Speaker and Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and head of the Communist Party faction in the State Duma Gennady Zyuganov, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma and Deputy Chairman of the CPRF Central Committee Ivan Melnikov, head of the Just Russia party faction in the State Duma Nikolai Levichev, Deputy State Duma Speaker and head of the LDPR faction in the State Duma Igor Lebedev, and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vladislav Surkov.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev:
Good afternoon, colleagues,
Today is the last day of the spring session. You have done a great deal for the country, for the people and for yourselves personally.
I would like to thank you for your hard work on a number of presidential initiatives which have been adopted.
Some say these are minor details, but our democracy and our lives are made up of such minor details. So, everything we have been discussing with you – changes to the legislation, with regional legislation this year, and our joint efforts on changing legislation on democracy on a federal level last year, — all of this is part of a big legislative overhaul we have launched.
I am confident the legislative innovations that have been passed – and they have been passed, partly due to the debates with you and the issues you have raised, for example on election results – will contribute to improving the body of our legislation, including election laws, and the entire area of public law and constitutional law, in this case on a regional level.
Many beneficial initiatives lie ahead. I would like to emphasise one of them in particular: the law on the Skolkovo Innovation Centre. There is no legal precedent in our country. In recent times we have been trying to avoid granting privileges to particular locations and territories. But in this case we have decided to use a different approach. I have submitted a bill about this. Its aim is to grant certain privileges and opportunities to the specific area where this centre will be located. This is the only way to breathe life into the project. My own experience and some discussions I have held recently on this subject show that this is the right approach and we must adopt it. Although it is possible that the bill will be improved further in the course of our debate. I am open to discussion on this issue with everyone present.
There are other important matters. That includes, of course, recovery from the economic crisis, along with the rest of the world. I have discussed this with the G20 leaders at the summit. I can share my impressions with you about the remedies that have been proposed, what has been done and what has not been done yet, and what challenges remain, including regional challenges. This is another subject for discussion.
Another issue I would like to focus your attention on is one we addressed some time ago. I am referring to discipline at the State Duma, specifically the MPs’ attendance of plenary meetings during the session. This is an internal question of organizing the State Duma’s day-to-day operation and you should make these decisions yourselves. But I have already told you that I find it very hard to see all the empty seats. After all this is the mandate that every elected member of parliament receives from the people, and you must do your duty with honour. We have reviewed ways to improve the situation with United Russia and several other parties. For now I suggest we finalise our discussions on relevant legislative initiatives and the proposals on changes to internal documents. I think this is very important. Although, I reiterate, this is an internal issue but it also has a clear political dimension.
As always I am open to discussion on these issues, or anything else you think we need to address today.