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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Medvedev to Meet with Opposition Leaders

RIA Novosti

07:18 20/02/2012 MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will on Monday meet with the leaders of unregistered political parties to discuss political reform in the country.

Addressing the full Russian parliament in December, Medvedev proposed a host of liberal reforms, including reinstating direct elections of regional governors and simplifying the procedure for registering political parties. A high-ranking Kremlin source said earlier Medvedev did not plan to discuss December’s disputed parliamentary elections and “rally activity.”

But unregistered People’s Freedom Party (Parnas) leaders Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Ryzhkov, who were invited to Monday’s meeting, and Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov, who says he has not received an official invitation yet, plan to also discuss protests and “political prisoners” with the Russian president.

Claims of fraud in favor of the ruling United Russia party in December’s parliamentary polls have sparked the biggest anti-government protests seen in Russia in decades.

One of the latest demonstrations came on February 4, exactly a month before Medvedev’s mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will seek to return to his old job in the Kremlin. Putin held the presidential post for two terms in 2000-2008. On Sunday, Moscow saw a mass protest by motorists, who drove around the city center with white ribbons and balloons attached to their cars in protest against Putin's expected return to the Kremlin following the March 4 election.

Speaking after the first two mass rallies in December, Putin said protesters lacked a common position.

“Who should we talk with?” he told reporters. “They should come together with some form of joint platform and joint positions so we can understand what these people want. They are very different.”

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