EU Expert: Russian democracy doomed without municipal reforms

'The goal of municipal reforms in Russia is to bring government closer to the people,' said Nizhny Novgorod Region Parliament Speaker Yevgeny Lyulin at a meeting with a delegation of the European congress of local and regional government on January 30. 'This is a revolutionary idea with the goal that municipal reforms become the centerpiece of local governments' agendas,' said Lyulin.

Rosbalt reports that head of the European delegation Guido Rodio said that the delegation is studying the positive and negative effects of municipal reforms in Nizhny Novgorod Region. The delegation also plans to write a report based on their visit and deliver it to the congress of local and regional governments of Europe. 'The question of conducting municipal reforms is not being discussed. Without them, it will be impossible to develop democracy in Russia,' he said.

Lyulin told journalists that after his conversation with members of the European delegation, the Europeans believe that 'the course of developing democracy is going in the right direction throughout Russia and in Nizhny Novgorod Region.' We are moving toward joining the international and European communities, therefore, we are closely following the development of our democracy,' he said.

The European delegation visited Nizhny Novgorod Region from January 28 through January 30. The first official visit of the group of EU experts in Russia took place last July.

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