Speaking at a youth camp President Vladimir Putin has hinted that he was not planning to sack the government in the foreseeable future and said that he was satisfied by its work.
Members of the youth political forum asked the president if he supported the initiative of the Russian Communist Party to dissolve the government that is currently in the preparatory stage, but can be forwarded at the forthcoming fall session of the Lower House.
Putin answered that as the head of the state he must be strict with his subordinates, but also be just to them, and added that “justly speaking, the government as a whole was correctly performing its function”.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation earlier demanded that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sacked several federal ministers, in particular the heads of the education, finance and health ministries, and threatened to start a formal procedure of government dissolution if these condition were not met.
A positive parliamentary vote on government dissolution can be rejected by the president and the repeated voting in favor of such a move gives the head of the state the right to dissolve the Lower House.
The majority of seats in the Lower House are occupied by the United Russia party which is headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and the communists are unlikely to find support for their initiative.
Putin also commented on the fate of the increasingly popular anti-corruption blogger and candidate in the Moscow mayoral race, Aleksey Navalny. The President said he was surprised by the fact that Navalny was sentenced to 5 years in prison while his close accomplice in the same case got a 4 and a half year suspended sentence. The softer sentence was given to Vyacheslav Opalev who entered a plea deal and whose testimony was the main argument of the prosecutors.
Despite being sentenced to prison Navalny is currently not in custody because the court is considering his appeal and Russian law does not allow pre-trial detention in cases of economic crimes. The activist was briefly detained after the sentencing but almost immediately released after the prosecutors’ protested which prompted speculation about the intervention of the authorities in the process and their possible hidden motives.
At the same time, Putin stressed that “those who fight evil must themselves be without flaws” and added that the opposition must learn to act within the framework of the law.
As in previous occasions, when talking about Navalny Putin did not pronounce the activist's name.
The Seliger youth summer forum has been held every year since 2005 on the banks of Lake Seliger, about 350 kilometers from Moscow. Initially the camp was run by the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi, though it soon began receiving support from the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs. In recent times, members of opposition parties and movements were also welcomed at the camp and have subsequently delivered lectures.
Putin visited Seliger forum in 2009 and in 2011, when he
was Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.