On December 22, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made an address to the Federal Assembly. Head of State proposed a number of initiatives to transform the political system. They include the return of direct gubernatorial elections and simplification of registration of political parties.
Dmitry Medvedev began his address by stating that the Russian authorities will not let provocateurs and extremists draw people into games and will not tolerate interference in internal affairs.
"The right of people to express themselves is guaranteed by all legitimate means, but the attempts to manipulate the citizens of Russia, mislead them, and incite social discord in society is unacceptable," Medvedev said, adding that "Russia needs democracy, not chaos."
The President did not stop there. His further suggestions included reforming the political system. In particular, Dmitry Medvedev spoke about the need to move to the elections of the leaders of the Federation by direct vote of the residents of the regions.
"We have to give all active citizens a legitimate opportunity to participate in political life. I think we need the following: switch to the election of heads of Russian regions by direct vote of the residents of the regions", said the president.
In addition, the President proposed a simplified procedure for registration of political parties based on the application of 500 people, representing at least 50 percent of the country's regions.
According to him, it is necessary to reduce the number of signatures required for participation in the presidential elections in Russia to 300 thousand, and for candidates from non-parliamentary parties - to 100 thousand.
Dmitry Medvedev also proposed to change the system of elections to the Duma. The President considers it appropriate to strengthen the links between the electorate and Members of the Parliament to introduce proportional representation to 225 districts.
The reform will affect the election commissions. According to the President, the representation of political parties in election commissions should be extended.
Another issue that without doubt will be discussed is the proposal to create public television on the basis of one of the federal channels.
"I propose shortly to decide on the establishment of public television, perhaps on the basis of an existing federal channel," the President said. Medvedev noted that the editorial policy of this channel could not be influenced by any of its owners. "I believe that such public television can make our information environment more competitive, and therefore, more interesting," Medvedev said.
The President also noted the need to eliminate the economic conditions for mass internal migration in Russia. "Major tension is caused by international and internal migration, especially in large cities. Sometimes it leads to ethnic hatred and conflict," the President stated.
"We need to eliminate the economic basis for the mass internal migration, as well as for the concentration of external migration in some regions of the country", noted Dmitry Medvedev. According to the President, there is a need to create conditions for accelerated development of depressive populated areas, and in addition, pay more attention to cultural and moral education of children, teach them mutual respect and tolerance.
Among other initiatives was the proposal to set limits on transactions between state agencies and companies headed by close relatives of government officials.
"I consider it appropriate to set limits on transactions between government agencies and commercial organizations, in which large shareholders or senior officials are close relatives of the heads of relevant agencies and stated companies. The number of such cases in our country is, unfortunately, enormous," the President said.
He also proposed to introduce measures to control spending of the officials. "In order to further fight corruption, I think it would be right to introduce expenditure control of persons holding public office in the Russian Federation and some of the positions of the federal public service, in cases where the expenses of these individuals clearly do not correspond to their income," Medvedev said.