#4 - JRL 7068
February 19, 2003
PUTIN FORBIDS LYING
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
President Putin addressed the Legislators' Council yesterday. It was a gathering of former senators, the speakers of regional parliaments. They discussed local government reforms.
Putin let it be understood that it is foolish to hope that every single law passed in Russia will be observed. Therefore, it's time to review the laws. Putin asked: "Do you know the cost of all the promises made at various levels, which we have to carry out? Around 6.5 trillion rubles. And the nation's annual budget is only 3.5 trillion rubles!" It would appear that citizens are being tricked. Putin grew more indignant: "If we are incapable of implementing a law or a promise, we should say so. The people can forgive us anything but lies. Why lie to the people?"
The second part of the president's speech was devoted to regional parliaments. He said they should follow Duma principles, with half the members being elected via party lists and the other half via single- mandate districts. Putin stressed urgency: "Let's think together. But not in the usual way this is done in Russia - not by lying around on the couch for a hundred years like Oblomov, doing nothing. We have no time to waste." Presumably, once regional parliaments have their members elected via these combined efforts, laws will be implemented much better.