MOSCOW, November 21, 0:27 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin made assurances that the authorities “have no wish to press on small political parties, to snub them.”
“I do agree that there must be an opportunity of everyone’s participation in the political life,” the head of state said at the meeting with representatives of non-parliamentary parties. He thus responded to the call of the leader of the Republican Party of Russia - the Party of People’s Freedom (RPR-PARNAS), Vladimir Ryzhkov, for the continuation of the political reform and for dispensing with filtering political parties. “Volodya, we have no wish to pressure and snub [small political parties],” Putin said, addressing Ryzhkov.
The head of state suggested “pondering on how not to carry to absurdity our joint efforts for party development.” Putin suggested analyzing the normative base and practice of party development in other countries, where there exist many parties but there are two or three parties on the political scene, as “certain normative regulation applies.”
“We have 72 parties now,” the president said. “I hear it said ever more often that the authorities did this on purpose in order to discredit the political system, as not all parties can compete on an equal footing and there can be no equal access to the mass media,” Putin said. He believes it is necessary to ponder on the ways to strengthen the multiparty system, so that it should not become a sham, and to ensure the equal access [to the mass media]. The head of state supposed that the filters could be removed, as “nobody hangs on to them”, but “there is a need to see where this will lead.” Putin suggested addressing the matter with no haste, as just the first election campaign according to the new rules was conducted in Russian regions last September.
The president disagreed with Ryzhkov’s assertion that there were signs of a civil war in Russia. “The more often we use such terms, the more problems we will have,” he said. “The cemetery is the only place with the all-pervading calm. Conflicts are a natural thing; the point is to find a civilized solution to a conflict, to find a way consolidating, rather than destroying, society,” Putin stressed.