President Vladimir Putin (following the report by Boris Gryzlov): I found that very interesting. I think the report had much substance, and I saw how the audience reacted.
At the same time, I would like to point out that I do not take part in inter-party discussions. This is why, as you noted, I try to avoid such party events. That fact that I am here today at your party congress is an exception. This was a conscious choice on my part, in order to express my gratitude to your deputies in the State Duma for their joint work over these last four years.
None of us knows exactly what the future holds, because the voters will say their word in December, and only then will it be clear whom the new Russian President will have to work with over the next four years. I want to express my thanks for the work that has been done over the last four years. I think the Duma has worked very effectively, and this is, of course, in large part due to the efforts of the deputies from centrist party factions.
There was also talk here today of the need to create a presidential majority in the new State Duma. You know, it’s not so important what name is given to this majority. It’s not something of such crucial significance. But that there should be a responsible majority of politicians in the parliament ready and able to take on the responsibility for this country’s future, that, of course, is something that we do need. And I very much hope that we will have it. But I repeat, it does not matter what we call it.
I know that discussions are still going on as to which of the classic European parties United Russia is closer to – the social democrats or the conservatives. Of course, an ideological foundation is something necessary. But as for whom to be closer to, be closer to the citizens of Russia. Be closer to the people. I am convinced that it is through contact with the people that you will always be able to sense and understand how best to define your work’s strategy and tactics. Then you will be sure of success.