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Russian opposition fails to be constructive in dialogue with president — Putin’s spokesman

June 16, 2017, 3:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"There were millions of letters, and hundreds of them contained criticism and affronts to the Russian president but practically no proposals from the opposition," he said

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MOSCOW, June 16. /TASS/. Russia currently has no opposition forces demonstrating an adequate and constructive approach to the political process, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on Thursday’s question-and-answer session by the Russian president.

During the Evening With Vladimir Solovyov television show, the Kremlin spokesman said he personally "sifted through a great deal" of questions, submitted to the Russian president.

"There were millions of letters, and hundreds of them contained criticism and affronts to the Russian president but practically no proposals from the opposition," he said.

"What is a proposal? It should be something like: 'mr. President, you are doing this and that regarding, say, child allowances. I disagree with you and I think that it should be done in a different way, and here is the policy that I would choose if I were you'," Peskov said, calling such an approach a "constructive opposition."

"This is the kind of opposition that the president is ready to communicate with and to treat them as his political opponents," the spokesman went on. "Unfortunately, I found no constructive proposals of this kind in the huge massive of information that we had received."

He said that all letters with criticism were handed over to the president "in a separate file, to keep him informed."

The spokesman also replied to allegations that all questions are compiled beforehand and those asking them undergo special preparations.

"This criticism is nothing new, and our usual response is that it is unjustified. It’s no secret that we work on certain issues in advance and gather questions during one week. It’s also no secret that we contact many of those who asked the questions ahead of the broadcast to find out whether this person will be at home and whether it will be possible to phone him during the Q&A session. This is absolutely normal," he said.

When asked about the opposition forces active in Russian, the spokesman cited the president’s earlier statements on the issue.

"He said that no doubt, certain types of people’s gatherings and rallies in line with the law are a democratic form of expressing the will of the people that serve as a mechanism for delivering the people’s expectations to the authorities," Peskov said, adding that Putin "understands and welcomes" such initiatives.

"However, he is absolutely not ready neither to welcome, nor to approve illegal public gatherings, especially is they are provocative by nature," he said, apparently referring to the June 12 unauthorized rally in downtown Moscow that brought together 4,500 persons. The rally coincided with an authorized one, held on Monday on Sakharov Prospekt avenue.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave answers to nearly 70 questions in 3 hours 56 minutes during his annual question and answer session on Thursday.

More than half of the questions, 35, highlighted social and economic worries of the Russian people. There were seven questions on international issues (Ukraine, the United States and Syria), two - about the environmental protection, and four - about the domestic policy.

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