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On Monday, President Dmitry Medvedev instructed the presidential administration to make proposals over the drafting of a bill to convene the Constitutional Assembly and the Justice Ministry to report, why PARNAS party was not registered. He also instructed the Prosecutor General’s Office to study where the guilty verdicts are well proved against people, whom the opposition takes as prisoners of conscience, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. The instructions were given at a meeting between Dmitry Medvedev and the leaders of the unregistered political parties on February 20. However, the non-system opposition was dissatisfied all the same.
The Russian Constitutional Assembly may initiate in theory to revise the provisions of several articles of the Russian Constitution, Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes. It is a special question what changes and proposals in concrete could have been introduced. But, on the one hand, the Constitution is an inviolable law, on the other hand, this is not the testimonies, which Moses received from the God on the Sinai Mount. Therefore, the Constitution can be amended. However, the most important thing is that the Constitution will not be amended for time-serving political reasons. These instructions, which Dmitry Medvedev gave after the presidential elections, show that this is not a time-serving decision.
The Constitutional Assembly is mentioned in the Constitution and convenes to amend two first constitutional articles (the articles laying down the foundations of the constitutional system, human rights and freedoms), as well as Article 9 (on constitutional amendments and the revision of the Constitution), if the decision is supported by three fifths of votes from a total number of members of the Federation Council and deputies of the State Duma, the Kommersant daily writes. The Constitutional Assembly is vested with the powers to confirm the inviolability of the Constitution or develop a new draft of the fundamental law. The law is approved by two thirds of votes from a total number of its members or put up for a national referendum. The draft laws on the Constitutional Assembly were submitted in the State Duma several times, but in vain, the newspaper noted.
One of the issues in the list of presidential instructions was the proposal to the Justice Ministry “to produce the information about the reasons for the denial in state registration for the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS) For Russia without Arbitrariness and Corruption,” Nezavisimaya Gazetareported. Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov is appointed to be in charge of this issue. The PARNAS co-chairman Vladimir Ryzhkov positively assessed this document, “Dmitry Medvedev answered all the main questions, which I, Boris Nemtsov and Sergei Udaltsov asked at the meeting.”
At the meeting between Dmitry Medvedev and the leaders of the unregistered parties he received the list of those, who should be pardoned, all in all 37 convicts, according to the opposition, Novye Izvestia recalled. The PARNAS co-chairman Vladimir Ryzhkov noted then that the president promised to deal with each person, find whether the verdict was lawful and the political motivation existed in it.
Another PARNAS co-chairman Boris Nemtsov is convinced that the president does not have enough powers to insist on the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. “The criminal case against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev will not be retried, because this is beyond the authority of Medvedev, and his instructions to the Prosecutor General’s Office are nothing, but an efficient gesture to cool down the wave of public protests over the presidential elections,” the politician told the newspaper. Nemtsov took the presidential instructions as quite delayed. He noted that after the meeting between the president and representatives of the non-system opposition a quite long period of time passed, but only on the next day after the presidential elections the president “gave a response somehow to our demands.”
“The goal is absolutely clear: to cool down the protesting moods after the presidential elections,” Kommersant quoted the Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov as saying. The PARNAS co-chairman Mikhail Kasyanov, who was not invited to the meeting with the president, had a more critical position, “Since the main task is resolved, Putin came back to the Kremlin, it is high time for Medvedev to get down to the imitation of liberal tendencies in the political life.”