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Russia: Opposition Leaders Skeptical Of Medvedev Reform Plans

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The head of the liberal Yabloko party is skeptical about prospects for implementing the political reforms proposed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday, saying that the outgoing president would not have enough time to follow through on them.

Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov agrees, saying Medvedev’s statements are a reaction to the large opposition demonstrations on December 10. Meanwhile, Grigory Yavlinsky, Yabloko’s candidate for the presidency, sees Medvedev’s proposals as part of his party program.

“The president’s initiatives are a sign of a thaw,” Yabloko’s Sergei Mitrokhin told RIA Novosti. “The government was forced to take these steps but that does not guarantee anything… Medvedev definitely will not be the next president. In this case Putin’s words have more strength. Who is going to do everything that Medvedev suggests? He won’t, that’s not the prime minister’s job.”

Putin is running for president in elections scheduled for March 2012. Putin has said that in the event of victory, he will name Medvedev the new prime minister.

Nemtsov said the government should define timeframes for the implementation of political reforms and pass the necessary laws. “And until February 1, all the laws should be passed,” he wrote in his Livejournal blog.

Nonetheless, Nemtsov supports Medvedev’s initiatives.

“I consider absolutely correct a return to direct election of governors and election of single mandate candidates, to simplification of registration procedures for opposition candidates,” wrote Nemtsov.

Yavlinsky agreed with the politicians and wrote in his LiveJournal blog “that the way the authorities are acting shows that they care only about themselves and not about the future of the country.”

All three opposition leaders believe Medvedev in his final state-of-the-nation address did not address the issues raised by demonstrators at Bolotnaya Square, who were protesting the results of the parliamentary election and who specifically demanded the resignation of Vladimir Churov, the head of the Central Election Commission.

“He did not say anything about Churov. The protestors demanded his resignation,” said Mitrokhin.

“They are not going to review the results of the election. They want to close this issue. They want to have the same presidential election, with the same Churov and commissions headed by people from Churov’s list,” wrote Yavlinsky.

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Ria Novosti

RIA Novosti was Russia's leading news agency in terms of multimedia technologies, website audience reach and quoting by the Russian media.

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