Medvedev Meets With Russian Opposition Leaders

Medvedev meeting with opposition figures. Source: Firstnews.ruRussian President Dmitri Medvedev has met with opposition leaders whose political parties have not been allowed to officially register, including Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov, Sergei Udaltsov, and others, reports.

Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and now co-leader of the People’s Freedom Party (Parnas), used Monday’s unprecedented meeting to read Medvedev a list of resolutions made at a series of massive anti-government protests that have swept through Moscow in the past few months. The resolutions call for various reforms to Russia’s political system.

The oppositionist also gave Medvedev a list of 37 political prisoners and asked for them to be pardoned, particularly noting Taisiya Osipova, Sergei Mokhnatkin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev.

Perhaps surprisingly, Medvedev indicated that he was at least somewhat aware of Osipova’s case.

“If anybody is pardoned, then I’ll consider the meeting with Medvedev not to have been in vain,” Nemtsov said afterwards.

Throughout the meeting, he along with Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov and Parnas co-leader Vladimir Ryzhkov stressed the importance of free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections.

The oppositionists also made it clear that they were not looking to foment revolution in Russia. In their estimation, Russia has already had more than its fair share of revolutions, but the current government itself is provoking a revolutionary mood within Russian society because of its insistence in remaining in power.

When Nemtsov asked Medvedev to introduce an amendment banning one person from holding presidential office in Russia more than two times, the president answered that he had previously considered this and still may before the end of his term.

Besides Nemtsov, Udaltsov, and Ryzhkov, the meeting was also attended by Konstantin Babkin of the Party of Action, Russian All-National Union representative Sergei Baburin, For Our Homeland co-leader Mikhail Lermontov, Green Party leader Anatoly Panfilov, National Women’s Party leader Galina Khavraeva, and several others prominent oppositionists.