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Medvedev Denies Putin Will Install Authoritarian Regime

File Photo of Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin
file photo
YEKATERINBURG, Russia. Nov 28 (Interfax) - President Dmitry Medvedev has dismissed allegations that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who will run for president in 2012, is taking Russia into an authoritarian era.

"It's not serious to say that some kind of authoritarian regime has taken shape that has spread far and wide and is embodied by the presidential candidate who has been put forward by United Russia, because there is no such trend," Medvedev told reporters on Monday. Nor is it true, the president argued, that Russia's political future is determined for the next 12 years.

"People will make the final assessment on December 4," he said in reference to elections for the State Duma, which has five-year terms. "If the United Russia candidate, Vladimir Putin, gets a chance to govern the state, it will be for six years, and no one knows what will come after that," Medvedev said.

"Over the past 12 years various kinds of things have been happening in the country," Medvedev said. "Some were absolutely necessary - without them the country would simply have fallen apart," he said, mentioning anti-terrorism efforts and measures to strengthen government. "There have been some extremes, but it was absolutely correct."

"For the past 12 years we have been able to bring Russia to a state that is fundamentally different from what was the case in the 90s," Medvedev said. It has become a top league country, a country that is reckoned with not only because it possesses missiles but also because it is a country where wages and pensions are growing."

"There has been no abandonment of the rights and freedoms established by the Constitution," Medvedev said.

"Some of the democratic institutions have changed," he said, citing the replacement of regional gubernatorial elections with a system where governors are appointed by the president.

"Some people consider this to be correct, others don't, but it doesn't mean that constitutional principles were trampled upon," Medvedev said.

There have been suspicions that in some respects control has been tightened too much, he said. "But the state system in itself has not undergone any radical changes," Medvedev said.

As for the United Russia party, "if it receives the majority (of votes in the December 4 elections), it will represent majority interests, but if its policy differs from the ideas of the majority, it will lose its majority support," he said.

He also dismissed the point that United Russia has held power for too long.

"I can't see it as a disaster that there is a political force that can win elections only three times in a row," Medvedev said.

In Germany, the Christian Democrats were in power for about 20 years. In Britain, the Conservative Party had been at the helm for 18 years before Labour leader Tony Blair won the 1997 general election. "Nobody said this was against the trend," Medvedev said. "So there's no tragedy about that."

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