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Putin emphasizes parliament serves as venue for discussions, not for fistfights

The Russian president harked back to the 1990s, when "it was a total mess, not a parliament"

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Russia does need an opposition, but in parliament, there should be no place for "free-for-alls and publicity stunts," Russian President Vladimir Putin believes.

"We need both the systemic and non-systemic opposition. I'm saying so not as Russia's current president, but as an ordinary Russian citizen," he told TASS in an interview for the project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin". "However, we don’t need pandemonium. Nor do we need any shows. We need serious political activity."

The parliament "is the right place for discussions," he said, thus making an allusion to a controversial remark from Boris Gryzlov (the State Duma’s speaker in 2003-2011). "It is not a place for brawls, free-for-alls, or for publicity stunts," Putin added.

Putin harked back to the 1990s, when "it was a total mess, not a parliament." "Brawls were frequent and there was no chance to make a single decision. What was even worse was that the decisions they made were impossible to implement. The economy was driven into a dead end," Putin said.

"You need great upheavals, while I need a great Russia," he said, quoting Pyotr Stolypin, a prominent Russian statesman from the early 20th century. "I believe we all need a great Russia, not staged performances at different levels of political power."

Russia’s opposition is not 'tame'

Putin disagreed with assumptions that Russia’s opposition political parties were "tame." "We have four parliamentary parties. Quite often they have their own vision," he recalled. As an example, he mentioned the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and its leader Gennady Zyuganov.

Also, Putin recalled that Russia had about 50 political parties in all. "United Russia holds the controlling stake in the State Duma. There are other parties that quite often disagree. There are just 4 of them in the parliament. They disagree with the ruling party's point of view," the head of state said.

Episode 15 of the video interview is available at