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Meeting with Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova

March 17, 2020, The Kremlin, Moscow

The President met with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Pamfilova, I know that the Central Election Commission and your colleagues in the regions have already started preparing for the nationwide vote on the constitutional amendments. It is an important and difficult job.

I would like to tell you that today I have signed a relevant Executive Order. The document sets out the date for the vote, April 22, as we previously agreed.

At the same time, I would like to point out that the law obliges us to hold the voting no sooner than a month after the issuing of the Executive Order. We can hold it later than a month; the timeframe is not stipulated in the law.

This is why I am telling you this: I hope very much that the citizens of Russia, being aware of the importance of the decisions to amend the Constitution and knowing that adopting these decisions and sealing them in the Constitution is extremely important for the nation and for elaborating on the social nature of our state, such as the predominance of Russian law over international laws, as well as several other fundamental issues related to our traditions, culture and history – being aware of this, our people will come to the polling stations to express their opinion of the proposed amendments to the Constitution.

However, in light of the complicated epidemiological situation in the world, which has also affected Russia, even if not as strongly as some other countries, we will hold the vote only if the situation allows us to do so. Therefore, although the proposed amendments to the Constitution are very important, there is nothing more important than the health and lives of our people. As I said, we will proceed from the situation.

At the same time, I would like to ask you and all your colleagues in the regions to continue working, continue preparations for the nationwide vote. I hope you will make use of all the available instruments to ensure that the nationwide vote is held as competently as possible, in strict compliance with the law and using modern technology.

Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova: Mr President,

First, it is hard to disagree with you that the most important thing is the health and security of our citizens. Nevertheless, we are ready for any developments and our electoral system in its present form is modern and dynamic. We have not lost a single hour or a single day after you signed the instruction and empowered us to prepare.

We have prepared rather well now and are ready for any developments; we are considering different options. We are ready to provide our electoral system colleagues with all the necessary means and take the necessary measures so that during the national vote held within some or other timeframe depending on the situation we could suggest the options that primarily conform to these priorities – I mean health and security in the first place.

Indeed, much has been done… We have considered several different options. We suggest using all the modern methods that we have tested over this period. In general, we are ready to reach out to every participant in the voting depending on the situation.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

We can see that the countries where the situation is much more severe than in this country do not renounce political events of this kind, the elections.

Signing an Executive Order today without stating a specific date is more or less senseless. But let me repeat once again, the law does not restrict our actions in any way. If the situation demands, we will postpone the national vote until a later date. Nevertheless, let me reiterate that I ask you to continue this work and influence your colleagues in the regions to develop the same attitude.

Ella Pamfilova: Mr President, let me assure you that our efforts do not slacken even for a minute; we are working and will be ready to face any situation.


March 17, 2020, The Kremlin, Moscow