MOSCOW, April 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with representatives of unregistered Russian political forces at the Kremlin on Monday. This is already the second meeting between Medvedev and the leaders of the opposition parties, as the first one was held at his Moscow regional residence on February 20.
Medvedev is expected to continue the discussion on the progress of the political reform in the country with the leaders of unregistered parties. The Pirate Party of Russia, the Greens ecological movement, the Party of Business and the For Our Homeland Party confirmed their participation in the meeting. Representatives of other political forces, particularly leader of the Left Front Sergei Udaltsov may participate in the meeting.
Medvedev believes that such meetings between Russian leaders and the opposition should be regular. “Such meetings should be regular for Russian political leaders,” Medvedev told a news conference in Seoul in late March. “I hope the term “off-system opposition” will soon be a history because if a country has an opposition, which is acting under the law, it is systemic in any case.” The opposition might be “hard-line, radical, or moderate but still it is a legal opposition, and those who violate laws are criminals rather than systemic opposition.”
“To my mind, we should pass to this model. This is what I discussed at a meeting with those leaders, representatives of political forces, which had not been registered at the Justice Ministry yet. I believe that they should be called this way so far. But it will be so for a short period of time,” Medvedev stated. “I hope that a law on political parties will be approved in the Federation Council quite soon and after that it will be submitted to the president for signing. I will certainly sign it,” Medvedev told a press conference in Seoul on March 27 (on March 28 the Federation Council approved the presidential bill, which simplifies the registration procedure and eases up substantially the requirements to registration of parties).
“I would like to meet and talk to leaders of political forces that want to be registered. There are much more of them than were present at our first meeting,” he noted.
“This is sooner a symbolic meeting, but this does not mean that similar meetings will not take place in the future,” Medvedev went on to say. “On the contrary, the political leadership should meet regularly with representatives of various political forces, but not only with the parties, which are represented in the State Duma, so, with representatives of other political forces, because they reflect the entire spectrum of opinions in our country,” he pointed out.
On the eve of the meeting between the president and the opposition the Left Front leader noted that “certainly we can be glad about an easier registration of parties, but this is not enough.” “We call for elections of deputies in the mixed system (in constituencies and on party lists),” Udaltsov said. “Meanwhile, it is necessary to permit election blocs, ban the ungrounded denial for registration at elections and dropping the parties and candidates for the election race, change the procedure to form election committees and toughen criminal responsibility for falsifications at the elections for officials, amend the law on referenda that bans them now,” he said. “Without all this the reform will be incomplete,” Udaltsov underlined.