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State Duma skeptical about Prokhorov ideas to amend Constitution

October 29, 2012, 22:27 UTC+3

Igor Lebedev, the deputy speaker of the State Duma from the LDPR, is very skeptical about Prokhorov’s prospects in politics

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MOSCOW, October 29 (Itar-Tass) —— The State Duma welcomes the decision of entrepreneur Mikhail Prokhorov to get down to party development but is skeptical about a number of his ideas, also that of amending the Constitution.

“It is a positive thing for people who support him that he has now decided to abandon virtual experiments and to get down to real party development,” Sergei Zheleznyak, the deputy speaker of the State Duma from the United Russia party, told Itar-Tass on Monday. “It is apparent that until now he was much rather engaged in some sort of experiments that looked more like a game,” Zheleznyak said. “If he really wants to engage in politics, as he says he does, he should be building a regional infrastructure of the party, meeting people and working in the interests of voters,” Zheleznyak said.

“As regards the radical proposals Prokhorov made, I believe that was much rather a showy attention-getting move,” Zheleznyak went on. “The noisiest thing the leader of any new party can suggest is immediately to start changing the Constitution and Russia’s territorial make-up.” Zheleznyak believes. “It is much more important to people that problems they face every day be solved.” “These are problems connected with quality of social services, opportunities to get a good job, security, realization of human potential,” Zheleznyak said. “In this sense Prokhorov’s experience would be much more needed than the striving to begin recarving Russia’s territory, which would do nothing to solve existing problems and would create many new ones,” he said.

“I believe Prokhorov, as an expert in finance and economics, should give more attention to precisely these matters, the more so as, in contrast to radical liberal opposition, he can offer some sensible ideas to refine the country’s economic and financial policy,” the deputy speaker of the State Duma noted. “Although our viewpoints differ, effective decisions might result from substantive debates,” he said.

Answering in this context the question whether a dialogue and interaction of United Russia with Prokhorov was possible, Zheleznyak said: “We do not rule out interaction with any civilized political forces. If his activity is aimed at the solution of problems with which citizens are concerned rather than at some projects that cannot be realized, then we are ready to engage in polemics and interaction, if some or other proposals meet with our voters’ support,” he said.

Meanwhile Igor Lebedev, the deputy speaker of the State Duma from the LDPR, is very skeptical about Prokhorov’s prospects in politics. “He has already made a try, and we have seen what came of that. All his voters live outside Russia and those who vote for him can hardly make up ten percent [of the poll].” Lededev told Itar-Tass, adding that he did not expect anything positive from the former oligarch in Russian politics.

As to the suggestion to amend the Constitution, dropping the principle of dividing the country into “national districts”, Lebedev regards this as an obvious political plagiarism. “The LDRP has long since advanced that idea. We were the first to propose adopting the administrative-territorial division,” he said.

On Sunday the congress of the Civil Platform party founded on Prokhorov’s initiative last summer endorsed the new structure and elected the leading bodies. Addressing the congress, the 47-year old entrepreneur, who assumed the lead of the party, suggested giving up Russia’s division into “national districts” and republics and said there might be the need to amend the Fundamental Law. He believes the “Stalinist and Leninist system” of the country’s division into national republics is ineffective in the 21st century. “Isn’t it better to change to division according to economic expediency,” he asked. “Perhaps, this will require amendment of the Constitution and radical change of the budget system,” he said.

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