President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, Mr Churov, good afternoon, I am very happy to see you.
Our meeting is taking place as we approach the New Year, and I would like to begin by extending my warmest greetings and wishing you success and prosperity.
Now, of course, let us touch upon our joint work. Together with Mr Churov [Chairman of the Central Election Commission] we have been planning this meeting for quite some time, but kept putting it off until we reached the end of the year.
We intended to have this meeting right after the September election campaign. I would like to thank you for it. I know that we have here representatives of various electoral commissions: from the Central Election Commission to district electoral commissions. Of course, those who work at the grassroots level tend to bear the brunt of this job, and I know you had every opportunity to experience this because almost all of the 54 parties that had the right to take part in elections at that time were represented this year.
I would like to note here that representatives of 46 parties are currently working on the electoral commissions, which makes the work of these commissions more legitimate and creates greater trust in election results.
I also know that you have started consultations with the parties that take part in election campaigns, giving clarifications regarding applicable legislation. I find it extremely important for people to know and understand their rights and to be able to organise their activities within the framework of applicable legislation.
And, finally, we have reformed all the election committees, now they are all formed for a period of five years. This is also very important and substantial from the point of view of improving our political system, including its election side.
Today I would like to talk to you, to hear your views regarding your work in the outgoing year and your plans for the near term. I would like to hear what you think should be done additionally to make our electoral system more open, so that nobody has any doubt that it is operating on the highest possible organisational level and in the most up-to-date civilised political manner; that it is transparent, that it treats equally all those who are seeking the joy of being elected to all bodies of power, that it observes the rights of all participants of the election process.