Vladimir Putin: Today we are revisiting the issue of relations within the Federation in light of the wide discussion of this problem just held by the State Council and in the regions. The Government discussed this theme today. As you remember at the recent meeting of the State Council which discussed the prospects of local government, the heads of regions reopened the issue of amendments to the Federal Law On the General Principles of Organization of Legislative (Representative) and Executive Bodies of Power in the Constituent Parts of the Russian Federation.
At its meeting today the Government also analyzed the economic and financial basis of the relations between the different levels of government.
Besides, last week I had a meeting with the heads of the State Duma parliamentary parties and groups of deputies where these issues were also raised. It was a constructive conversation, we discussed the basic concepts of the draft laws submitted.
As far as I know all this has been discussed in the regions: we received information and some kind of response to these issues from practically every region. There are many remarks, additions and clarifications. Let me mention only the absolutely fundamental things.
First. A renewed legal framework is needed to make both regional and local authorities more independent and responsible. Most importantly to delimit the powers of all these levels of government more clearly.
Second. It is our position that every government function and the exercise of power costs money. So, finances should be distributed rationally and spent effectively.
Third. The proposed changes do not only open up new opportunities for the regional power bodies, but devolve additional responsibilities between them.
This is universally understood that it is necessary to make all these decisions with the full awareness of what we are doing.
In conclusion I would like to say that even at the discussion stage we must think about how to implement these laws. The federal laws must be followed up by legislative and organizational measures at all the levels of government.
I am aware that the heads of regions have some concerns about how this process will develop, how it will translate itself into real life, what follow-up legislation could be passed and by whom. These are not empty questions. I agree with you that we must think about it and, to use a fashionable phrase, agree on everything while we are still on shore. Perhaps it should be explicitly stated in the text of the law, and the procedure of bringing into effect these key items of legislation should be solved in advance. I agree with those who believe that it should be synchronized with the introduction of other laws, in particular those that describe the financial aspect of the implementation of these laws.