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MOSCOW, May 24 (Itar-Tass World Service)
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin discussed on Wednesday with activists of United Russia details of addendums to the Administrative Code, which offer more severe responsibility for violations over rallies and which seem to be able to ruin participants and organisers of rallies. The president called the party members to continue discussing the bill “openly”, but media believe he made it clear he is not likely to veto the scandalous law when it is ready.
A guest of the meeting was Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Council for development of the civil society and human rights, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes. Fedotov was among those who criticises the bill, which the deputies had adopted on Tuesday in the first reading, and which increases the fines for violations in organisations of rallies to 1.5 million roubles. Fedotov had to explain himself. He cannot be asking for a veto as yet – at first a bill is to be adopted by the parliament’s both houses. “We shall work on the bill, and when it is adopted by the two houses, we shall confirm we are satisfied,” Fedotov said. “If not, the council will be addressing you to request a veto.”
“We shall base our position on the fact that any addendums, any innovations should improve the democratic character of our state and society. This is first of all,” the newspaper quoted the president as saying. “Secondly, we should protect our people from any marginal, radical activities.” But the president called for a balanced decision in any case, and most importantly – to continued open dialogue with all participants in the process.
The RBC daily writes the president has asked United Russia to continue an “open” dialogue with all involved sides.
Stanislav Belkovsky, a political scientist, said that Vladimir Putin’s statement was not a concession towards the opposition, the newspaper writes. The president rather tried to present the situation so that he is not involved in the upcoming stricter regulations for rallies.
“Putin personally does not have anything against the law, since the bill originates not even at the Duma, but at the Kremlin. The president does not care too much about the opposition in the streets, but the behaviour of the opposition in the parliament has put his in deep thoughts: the CPRF /Communist Party of the Russian Federation/, and a Just Russia, and even LDPR /Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia/ were against,” a political scientist Alexei Makarkin told the RBC daily.
Just like Mikhail Fedotov, very many members of the presidential council on human rights will be resisting changes in the law on rallies, the newspaper writes. A member of the presidential council Kirill Kabanov said that presently the council is analysing addendums’ compliance with norms of the Constitution. He supports the view the law on rallies should not be changed.
“I believe it is correct to make this vital decision, but not in a rush. Not to press it, but to offer a balance of interests, though anyway this big fine is actually a ban of mass rallies, as violations are easy to be found anywhere,” their colleague Sergei Krivenko said.