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Medvedev Welcomes Criticism Over Crisis

Published: March 17, 2009 (Issue # 1457)



  • Honor guards open doors as President Dmitry Medvedev enters a hall for a meeting with regional lawmakers in the Kremlin on Friday in which the crisis was discussed.
    Photo: Alexander Natruskin / Reuters

MOSCOW President Dmitry Medvedev urged regional lawmakers to debate the governments anti-crisis policies and said he would welcome criticism.

In a notable departure from Vladimir Putins Kremlin, which rarely tolerated criticism, Medvedev said open discussion of anti-crisis measures among the lawmakers was permissible and even necessary, as was criticism of the states efforts to rescue the economy.

It would not be surprising if there was criticism about the course that has been taken, although arguments in its favor should be presented as well, he said at a Kremlin meeting with the lawmakers.

Medvedev, however, also contrasted Russias handling of the crisis with that of neighboring countries and took a clear swipe at one of them, presumably Ukraine, where he said political infighting had brought the economy to the edge of collapse.

We do not have political problems, which is good, because a country that goes through a crisis with political difficulties has a high risk of experiencing a default, he said. Look at what our neighbors are doing. There is a permanent state of political tension and internal clan war over there, and it complicates an already difficult situation.

Recently, some political pundits have started calling for Medvedev to depart from what they describe as the tacit pact between the government and society reached by Putin, in which society agreed on limitation of civil liberties in exchange for economical well being. The economic crisis demands that the accord be revised, say the pundits, including Igor Yurgens and Yevgeny Gontmakher of the Institute of Modern Development, a think tank that advises Medvedev on domestic policies.

In another departure from Putins principle of concentrating decision-making power in the Kremlin, Medvedev called on Friday to change the relationship between the regions and the central government, with regional lawmakers taking more responsibility for making decisions.

This is a new time, he said. The responsibility of all levels of government has grown significantly.

The regions should share their experiences in fighting the crisis with the state and among themselves, he said.

A council of lawmakers could aid the exchange of information between regions, he said. It is also necessary to build a system of vertical communication with the federal center.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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