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Assembly: Reforms will help Russia build on the “momentum for change”

Further reforms in Russia will advance the country’s “momentum for change,” according to the Parliamentary Assembly’s Monitoring Committee.

György Frunda and Andreas Gross are the authors of a report on the honouring of Russia’s obligations and commitments over the last seven years,.

Their report was considered by the Assembly’s monitoring committee at yesterday’s meeting in Paris. It has now adopted a draft resolution, welcoming the Russian Federation’s “very positive” steps, such as the amendments to the law on political parties, changes in electoral law and the re-introduction of direct elections of governors.

The committee also raised “serious concerns.” It noted that the de-legalisation of the Republican Party in 2007, the refusal to register some political parties, the systematic non-authorisation of peaceful demonstrations and the use of disproportionate force to disperse them, the creation of restrictive conditions for freedom of the media, especially the large and influential media, and harassment of the opposition, have all had negative effects on the state of democracy in Russia up to the autumn of 2011.

Members of the committee urged the newly-elected President Putin “to democratise the system instead of increasing its authoritarianism.”

The committee declared: “Russian society needs concrete reforms. The engagement and the mobilisation of more than 100,000 citizens following the December 2011 elections, the awakening of a very engaged civil society and the willingness of the authorities to hear the call for reforms have created in the Russian Federation “a momentum for change.”

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