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TRANSCRIPT: Medvedev Meeting with leaders of action groups for establishing political parties in Russia
kremlin.ru - 4.3.12 - JRL 2012-62

The Kremlin, Moscow

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Good afternoon, colleagues,

This is going to be an interesting meeting. Over the past four years I have been meeting regularly with representatives of parliamentary and non-parliamentary political parties, of which we don't have too many. This is my second meeting with the leaders of political groups that are about to undergo state registration, and this meeting is being held in the expanded format: we have about 40 representatives of organising committees from very diverse political parties, from all sides of the political spectrum. Among those present ­ I know some of you ­ there are political heavyweights who have done a great deal for Russia's political life in different periods, and there also are completely new people who are just starting out in politics. In any case, I am very pleased that there are representatives of different political forces. Why is that? The answer is very simple. All of you represent the interests of our citizens and you do it each in your own way; you represent the interests that are already structured and those that are only appearing, using a wide variety of possibilities. I think in general this is a positive trend and it should be welcomed, if only because, every person in any political system is entitled to have the certainty that there is a political organisation representing his or her interests. This is the most important thing.

In my address [to the Federal Assembly] last year, I voiced the idea of improving our political system. I have no doubt that we are still at the very beginning of this process, and in general the political system's development can never stop. Even the oldest, the most democratic political systems are still evolving. Our democracy is young and therefore our political system will develop regardless of who occupies which office.

I am glad that the law On Political Parties was drafted quickly and discussed by all political parties, both registered and unregistered. Amendments have been adopted, although as it always happens, not everyone was equally satisfied with them. But we'll see. It is likely that this law, like many others, will continue to be improved.

In any case, I am pleased that the debate on the draft law was very active and different points of view were expressed. Let me remind you about something you know well: the law significantly reduced the minimum required number of members, from 40,000 to 500 people. Some tried to convince me that this number must be increased because otherwise we are likely to have many parties that inhabit the political fringe, the so-called political dwarfs. However, I believe that we must follow a normal, modern way, along with the whole world, and in most states the requirement for the minimum number of party members is nominal. That is why I insisted that this figure remained low. I am glad that the Federal Assembly has supported me in this.

The registration procedure for political parties has been made more flexible. As you know, the Justice Ministry now gives the parties three months to correct any errors that may have been made. In general, the Justice Ministry has altered its position to a certain extent. It should no longer be perceived as barrier troops, as the participants of our last meeting put it, but as a necessary fi