“Republic heads should decide on their titles themselves” – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev (RIA Novosti / Pool)
Russian republics and subjects of federation should decide for themselves what to call their heads, said President Dmitry Medvedev concerning recent initiatives to stop naming them presidents.

He made the statement in an interview with television channel Rossiya 1.

"You know, my view is that the regions themselves should make the decision,” he said. “I took a look: a number of Caucasian regions and some others have indeed come up with that suggestion.”

Generally speaking, he said, the names can be different. On the other hand, Medvedev went on, “those names should not cause confusion or create misunderstandings of any sort.”

“If our colleagues, the governors and the presidents, do put forward this kind of initiatives and if this issue comes up on the agenda, I think it can be considered and possibly the legislation can be amended as well,” the president stated.

He underlined that the initiative must come from the regions and from the legislatures “because we have a federation here and, in this sense, it has specific features of its own.”

“Each region has specific features of its own,” he explained.

On the other hand, there should be a certain standardized principle, too, Medvedev said.

“And people should also objectively differentiate what it is all about, what is meant in concrete terms when this or that title is applied. Incidentally, it is not only and not so much the presidents as the legislatures, too. As far as I can remember, we have State Dumas that are some regions’ legislative bodies. There is scope for confusion here as well,” Medvedev noted.

“This is why I think we should consider this initiative. If the regions are ready, I certainly won’t object to it,” he concluded.

Earlier in August Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov submitted to the republic's parliament an official letter asking for “a change to the title of the highest official of the republic.” In his view there should be only one president in the country and that the “parade of regional presidents” must be brought to an end. Kadyrov suggested regional heads could be called “chief of administration, governor, or whatever.”