MOSCOW, February 6 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin believes that the country can continue the process of regional enlargement, but a strong federal centre should remain.
“The potential for the enlargement of federal constituents is far from being exhausted. But it is necessary to act in a reasonable and balanced way,” the prime minister wrote down in an article entitled “Democracy and Quality of the State”, which was published in the Kommersant daily on Monday.
Putin urged “to take into account the fact that the Russian regions are at various levels of socio-economic development, as well as various socio-cultural fields, which cannot be compared according to the scale of ‘better or worse’.” “The lifestyle of people is determined by various traditions, customs, models of conduct. Therefore, of undisputable value for us are integrators and strong uniting factors such as the Russian language, Russian culture, Russian Orthodox Church and other traditional Russian religions, and certainly, many centuries of experience of the common historical creativity of various peoples in one common Russian state,” the prime minister believes.
“This experience shows that the country needs a strong, respected and viable federal centre, which is a vital political stabilizing factor for balancing interregional, interethnic and interfaith relations,” he said.
“Our historical task is to realize the full potential of Russian federalism, create stimuli for the efficient and vigorous development of all regions in the country,” Putin believes.
“One of the most important tasks of the early 2000s was to overcome open, as well as latent, ‘creeping’ separatism, criminal infiltration and presence of nationalistic groups in regional authorities” that are“mainly settled” now.
The premier recalled about a pending comeback to direct gubernatorial elections, when the president will retain the right to dismiss a regional chief. “This will provide a balanced combination of decentralization and centralization,” Putin believes.
“The centre should be capable to pass and redistribute the powers. This is not only the powers, but also the sources to fund local and regional budgets,” the prime minister remarked.
“We should not lose control of the country. We should not ‘disperse’ the state power. It is impermissible to redistribute mechanically the resources and powers between various levels of power. There should not be ‘a fetish’ of centralization or decentralization,” Putin warned.
“The distribution of state powers at various levels of authorities should be done according to a clear-cut criterion – this function should be executed at that level of power, where it will be done with the best benefit for Russian citizens, their business activities and for the development of the country in general,” the prime minister underlined.