Dmitry Medvedev had a meeting with representatives of the non-system opposition on Monday. He heard the opinions over these initiatives for a political reform. The president was seeking to convince those who support cancellation of the State Duma election results that the incumbent parliament should not be delegitimized. He invited the meeting's participants to join a common working group to finalize the bills for the political reform.
The oppositionists and the president met in the evening on February 20, Moskovsky Komsomolets writes. The formal reason for the meeting became several legislative reforms aimed at simplification of political parties' registration. The leaders of the protest movement came to the meeting as leaders of the unregistered parties. Vladimir Ryzhkov and Boris Nemtsov from the People’s Freedom Party, Sergei Udaltsov from the Left Front, Mikhail Lermontov (For Our Motherland), Anatoly Panfilov (Greens) and Sergei Baburin (People’s Union) were among them.
Without any sensations, but it is better than nothing – the leaders of the non-system opposition described the Monday meeting with the president, the RBC daily writes. According to them, Medvedev avoided direct answers to the most acute questions, but closer to the end of the meeting he almost convinced the most zealous supporters for cancelling the State Duma election results that the incumbent parliament should not be delegitimized.
The Left Front leader, Sergei Udaltsov, estimated the Gorki meeting moderately, but positively. “I believe it is good that the dialogue began. This is better than absolutely no contacts. It did not look like the president just wanted to blandish us, at the same time, there were neither breakthroughs, nor sensations,” he told the RBC daily.
The working group, which was formed under the chairmanship of the first deputy chief of the Russian presidential staff Vyacheslav Volodin, will have its first meeting already on Wednesday. “The finalization of the submitted bills will be discussed, we will participate in these debates,” Udaltsov said. He noted that at the meeting, Medvedev sometimes avoided direct answers, for instance, to a move to postpone presidential elections with his presidential term to be extended for two years until the end of the political reform. “The president said that the time for this already passed, though he called this as an interesting idea,” the Left Front leader said. A shoe sole of the State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev, who lost it in the fistfight at the Mayor’s Office, Udaltsov brought to the president as he promised, “Put it on the table and said that I will not hurl it at the president, but will leave it as a symbol of the attitude to the lawmakers.”
Co-chairman of the Solidarity movement Boris Nemtsov was also satisfied with the meeting with the president and passed to the latter the demands voiced at all his rallies.
“The intentions of the president to reorganize the election system in general are very serious,” Yuri Moskalev, the head of the presidium of the central council of the party Course for Truth and Unity, told the RBC daily. In reply to the proposals to cancel the results of the parliamentary elections Medvedev put it clearly that those parliamentary elections, which were held, are completely legitimate and the fairest ones as compared with all previous elections, he said. At the end of the meeting Moskalev noted that Vladimir Ryzhkov and Boris Nemtsov, who voiced the idea to cancel the results of the State Duma elections, agreed in general that this process should not be delegitimized.
Quite unexpected proposals were made at the meeting, Kommersant noted. Head of the Russian ecological party Greens Anatoly Panfilov offered to reduce the number of regions. “They constantly hold these elections, election rerun, one region copes with this, another one does not cope with it. Meanwhile, this will contribute to the struggle against corruption,” he stated. The president liked the idea, but the latter explained that there is no mechanism for its realization now, Panfilov said. Co-chairman of the For Our Motherland Party Mikhail Lermontov offered to turn the web cameras in the monitors after March 4 to provide for “the non-stop plebiscite”, as currently “people are deprived of their legitimate right for a referendum.” The president agreed with this proposal, “taking into account his strive for modern modernization mechanisms,” he underlined.