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Opposition disappointed by lack of certainty about reform in Medvedev's address

Dmitri MedvedevMOSCOW. Dec 1 (Interfax) - Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin is disappointed that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev did not propose anything amounting to political reform in his Tuesday address to the Federal Assembly.

"He hasn't said a word about the high-and-mighty United Russia, and nothing has been proposed regarding political reform, without which, as the president said earlier, the looming stagnation cannot be overcome," Mitrokhin told Interfax.

"The only thing he said is that a proportional election system in local elections would be appropriate. Sure, this benefits the parties, but this is within the regional authorities' purview," Mitrokhin said.

The Yabloko leader disagreed with Medvedev that "we are approaching the State Duma elections with a renewed political system."

"There have only been cosmetic novelties, while huge inequality between the parties planning to run for the State Duma is still in place. Additionally, the recent [local] elections showed that the scale of vote-rigging hasn't declined at all," he said.

"The section of the address concerning economic development is also perplexing," he said.

"All the emphasis has been placed on low energy efficiency, and nothing else was said about any other problems. In our view, the main problems are [Russia's] enormous dependence on the exporting of raw materials and a merger between the business and authorities in administering the economy," Mitrokhin said.

Among positive aspects of the address, Mitrokhin said he supports "all what the president said about the need to care for children and future generations" and his idea for a common Russian-European missile defense system.

Leonid Gozman, a co-chairman of the Right Cause party, told Interfax he had "ambivalent feelings about the presidential address."

"On the one hand, the issues he brought up are very important and appropriate for the leader of a state and society. But on the other, I would point to quite a strange thing: the judgments about our political system that he gave in his video blog several days ago were much stingier and more critical than now," he said.

"This is because Medvedev understands that, in putting forward his ideas and intentions regarding reform, he is facing very strong resistance from the government apparatus," he said.

"It also seems to me that this address was a campaign speech. He has decided that he wants to run for president again, although this doesn't mean yet that he will actually do so," Gozman said.

"The country will benefit more if Medvedev rather than [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin becomes president again," he said.

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