"Medvedev’s openness – key to a new Russia"

In his address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia needs the input of its entire population to remain strong and develop further.

Political experts believe that it is a good sign that the president appears to be willing to listen to public opinion.

Independent political analyst Vladimir Kozin thinks Medvedev’s emphasis on domestic issues is important.

“For the last decade, since we became Russian Federation, we spent a lot of time doing nothing in terms of the economy,” Kozin said. “We are still relying upon raw materials in terms of export, oil and gas, mainly. It’s a rather dangerous situation, especially in the future, we can not be a state like this. We have to be an industrialized nation.”

Political analyst Vyacheslav Nikonov agreed with Kozin.

“The president cares about society, and what people have to say – those who agree with him and those who disagree,” Nikonov said. “That is an interesting way to talk to the country. Medvedev is engaged not in a monologue, but rather a dialogue, which I think may be quite productive and something which people may like.”

The leader of Russia’s Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, thinks modernization is welcomed, but believes it should be backed up with stable funding.


“Russia is in urgent need of modernization, so we must focus on developing heavy industry, electronics and aviation,” Zyuganov said. “Innovative technologies are also important, but they require massive funding. There's a lot of things we need to work on.”

The President's Press Attache, Natalya Timakova, gave RT details on how Medvedev prepared his speech and the Russian citizens’ involvement in this preparation.

“First the presindent published an article on the internet where he outlined the main issues he would touch upon in his address,” Timakova said. “Then he received thousands of comments. The president also met representatives from different groups of people, nearly all of whom had read his article. So they shared their views and ideas with him. The president listened to them and used some of them in his address, which has really become an extended version of his article.”

Mikhail Troitsky, a political expert from the Moscow State University of International Relations, thinks that in speaking about modernization, the Russian President also meant renovating the education system.

“Clearly innovation and economic growth is part of the modernization agenda,” Troitsky said. “But modernization is of course not limited to economic issues. In this particular message that President Medvedev sent to the Russian political class, I could distinguish the emphasis he put on the role of education in the modernization of Russia as a country. So I think a competitive system of education at both the high school level and university level is something that will add on, add up to economic measures if Russia is to accelerate its modernization.”