Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. It is now some time since we last revised the institution of presidential envoys in the regions. Today I suggest we draw a sort of halfway line and discuss the following topics.
First, how can certain laws find a niche so that, on the one hand, they avoid interfering with regional administrations and, on the other, they help to strengthen the Government’s vertical power structures in the regions? I think that these efforts should go both ways and help to make all state instruments function more effectively. That is the first point.
The second point. Elections in the regions are approaching. Before the end of the year, 34 regions will go to the polls. First of all I want to call your attention to the fact that both our and your prime task is to help electoral commissions and the general population to obtain accurate information on all candidates fielded and to prevent any indulgences towards people claiming special relations with the President, the Presidential Executive Office, or the Presidential Envoy in the region. No such special relations have ever existed or can exist. Our main objective is to respect the law to the letter and help the electoral commissions in their work and the general population in obtaining reliable information on all candidates that will take part in the campaign.
This leads me to say a few words about another component of authority: local government. My suggestion is that we discuss it separately. We should promote this institution the best we can, we must see what gets done and what does not, and how to support local government. What needs to be done is to establish a system under which local government can grow from the bottom up and meet state bodies of authority halfway so that both can complement each other in practice.
And of course we will discuss what has been done recently to harmonise federal and regional legislation and to bring regional laws into line with the Russian Constitution and federal legislation.
These are the topics I would like to see discussed. But of course, as we meet and discuss things we may also raise other issues of practical interest to you.