By Vesnovskaya Maria
President Medvedev says he cannot let down the countless millions of his supporters by resigning from politics after leaving the Kremlin in 2012 or by rolling up his ambitious modernization programme.
Speaking to his political backers and allies on Saturday at Moscow’s Digital October technology centre, he also commented on the decision by the governing United Russia party at its latest national congress to nominate Vladimir Putin for the next Russian President:
“We have never competed with him in any aspect. On the contrary, for the past 20 years at least, we have been close political allies and close friends. Actually, I would have never climbed to Moscow’s highest office without this. Moreover, I am not someone who forgets friends and starts demolishing them once in the top job. At the same time, the decision to swap posts with Putin was taken for the sake of national stability and development, rather than personal friendship or gain.”
At the same party congress, Mr Medvedev agreed to lead the party’s candidates in elections to Parliament in December and become a Prime Minister, if United Russia retains the helm.
This Saturday, he also dealt with criticism of his modernization course:
“Critics say that delivery on this course is too slow. I retort by arguing that rapid momentous change is impossible. The main thrust, however, stays the same – modernize the economy, humanize life, develop the political system, improve the investment climate, encourage business and raise incomes and wages across all social and economic strata, including in poorly paid menial jobs.”
“On the political side of the modernization process, I propose an enlarged government, which would also include the upper tiers of the governing United Russia party, civil society, the expert community and the regional and local administrations. Representatives from the grassroots are also welcome, even those opposed to my party’s course.”
According to Mr Medvedev, this enlarged government may take shape even before the next presidential elections in March.
In his Saturday speech, the President also touched on political pluralism:
“Pluralism is an imperative of modern democratic development. I believe that in 10 to 15 years from now, the country’s political landscape will consist of several strong parties including United Russia. This is a choice of history that cannot be changed.”
The President also argued that Russia’s democracy model cannot copy that of the United States. Each country, including Russia, is unique and can only move forward by fostering a democracy model of its own.