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Putin speaks to political scientists on the future of Russia and Europe

November 14, 2011, 16:37 UTC+3

Putin promised to continue the course towards modernization and gradual evolution of the political system into direct democracy

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MOSCOW, November 14 (Itar-Tass) — Late on Friday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with members of the international discussion club Valdai. The club encompasses renowned experts specializing in Russia’s domestic and foreign policy. Putin promised to continue the course towards modernization and gradual evolution of the political system into direct democracy. Just in a couple of hours, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won back his presidential status, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Political scientists spoke with him as a future head of state.

According to the newspaper, Putin turned down an expert scenario of Russia’s inertial development and demonstrated his readiness to defend what he is personally responsible for, i.e. the existing system of state authority. Stability, which many experts describe as stagnation, has a great number of advantages and achievements, the newspaper cites the prime minister. It became clear from his words that Russia is in for evolution, all the same. Of both the state administration system, and the political system, and the personal composition of the government, and top officials. "But that does not mean that nothing should be changed, the world around us is changing, and we must change, we need to match the time," Putin explained. "We do not believe that this is the final step in the development of our political system, and we think about how to achieve a situation in which the people will feel greater connection with the authorities, cause a greater impact on the authorities, have a chance to count on feedback." He acknowledged that he had heard criticism about the "operational government structure, called a tandem."

"But I want to draw your attention to the fact that no management system is perfect," he added.

Journalists were not allowed to attend a larger part of Putin’s meeting with international experts. No wonder, the most interesting ideas were voiced behind closed doors. According to the director of the Bertold Beitz Center of the German Society for Foreign Policy, Alexander Rahr, in case of his presidential election victory Vladimir Putin will be prepared to proceed along the path of modernization. "I think that Medvedev is about to be given carte blanche for several years to come. He is not leaving the stage, and I think this is one of the main signals that Putin wanted to send here, at the Valdai club meeting. The signal is the tandem exists and Medvedev is the future generation leader, he actually did everything correctly, even though they had differences in foreign policy," Rahr said.

When journalists joined in the meeting, Putin tried to bring home to the West that the current political regime in Russia has not yet exhausted, the RBC Daily writes. Behind closed doors, the Russian prime minister called the crisis-gripped Europe a hamster, which “has its mouth full of nuts but is unable to swallow them.” Speaking about the situation in Libya, Putin condemned both Europe and the United States for the policy of double standards. He also was quite straight that Russia will not tolerate U.S. missile defence systems in Europe and is ready for a confrontation, if it comes to it. But, in general, “it was not the Putin the West fears, the Putin of 2005-2006, who built the chain of command and, as they put in the West, ‘clamped down on democracy’," Rahr said.

According to the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Putin seemed not to be very optimistic about the situation in Europe. The European authorities and the European Central Bank are wasting precious time refraining from resolute measures, unlike the United States, the newspaper cites the prime minister. The situation is looming large on Italy, and aggravation is to be avoided. “Sometimes it is better to act promptly, even making minor mistakes, than to do nothing,” Putin said. “Even if it comes to chose between the bad and the very bad, it is better to move towards the merely bad than to wait for the very bad.”

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