Putin seeks tighter control

In a meeting with more than 500 regional officials from throughout Russia, Putin called for a new system of selecting regional leaders,
effectively by direct involvement from the Kremlin.

The Russian leader appointed Sergei Naryshkin, a former government administration deputy head, as the new government chief of staff.

Naryshkin replaces Dmitry Kozak, who was appointed presidential envoy for southern Russia, a region that comprises the North Caucasus, including Chechnya and North Ossetia, where the Beslan hostage siege took place.

Kozak’s predecessor as presidential envoy for southern Russia, former Saint Petersburg governor Vladimir Yakovlev, was appointed head of a newly created regional development ministry.

Addressing the meeting Putin also called for a “radical renewal” of policies in the southern republic of North Ossetia, where poor social conditions provided fertile ground for “international terrorism.”

“The fight against terrorism demands a radical renewal of the entire policy in the north Caucasus,” the Russian leader said.

He said unemployment was significantly higher and health care standards and other social benefits significantly lower in the north Caucasus than elsewhere in Russia, creating ripe conditions for extremists.

Putin’s political changes also called for a new system of proportional representation for filling all 450 seats in the State Duma, a break from the present system under which half are filled proportionately and half by direct majority vote.

The Russian leader said he would submit draft legislation on his proposed changes to the Duma by year’s end and pledged they would be in accordance with the Russian constitution.

Political experts have warned that the proposed changes could weaken democratic mechanisms for holding public officials accountable and also lead to excessive centralisation of political power.

Posted in 上海性息网