On MOSCOW, November 21./ITAR-TASS/. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with leaders of parties that got no seats in the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament, but received mandates in legislatures as a result of the 2012-2013 regional campaigns. The formal cause for the meeting was the preparation of a state-of-the-nation address the president would make on December 12. The meeting brought together leaders of new and old non-parliamentary parties, including democratic party Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin, Vladimir Ryzhkov from the Republican Party of Russia - People’s Freedom Party, RPR-PARNAS, Mikhail Prokhorov from Civil Platform and Gennady Semigin from the Patriots of Russia.
Some party leaders put forward proposals regarding the state-of-the-nation address, while most of them used the opportunity to share their ideas on amendment of the country’s party laws and to complain of law enforcers’ arbitrariness.
Vladimir Ryzhkov handed over to Putin the list of 70 people, whom human rights activists consider political prisoners and ask to pardon. Putin promised to study the document, but said the amnesty should be taken carefully - the society would not like to see criminals being set free.
“Putin’s meeting with leaders of non-parliamentary parties demonstrates that they are recognized as members of the A-League and this is an element of development of the party system,” political scientist Leonid Davydov was quoted by the Vedomosti business daily as saying.
RPR-Parnas told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the party had had a fierce debate. Ryzhkov’s visit to the Kremlin was negatively perceived by other two co-chairs - Mikhail Kasyanov and Boris Nemtsov. The head of the party’s Moscow office, Ilya Yashin, also expressed his dissatisfaction, describing the meeting as “advertising.”
Boris Nemtsov expressed confidence that the authorities’ dialogue with the opposition would yield no results. He recalled that the issue of political prisoners had already been raised at the Valdai discussion forum.
Despite opinions of Ryzhkov’s colleagues the format of Putin’s meeting with small parties proved useful for the invitees, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported. For instance, Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, who chairs Civil Platform, asked the president to sort out the situation with the detention of Yaroslavl mayor Yevgeny Urlashov. Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin proposed to start more active efforts towards "deoffshorization" of the Russian economy. In particular, he proposed to ban activity of any companies registered abroad in the key economic areas.
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