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Meeting with State Duma party leaders

December 15, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin held a meeting at the Kremlin with leaders of the political parties represented in the State Duma.

The participants include United Russia Party leader Vladimir Vasilyev, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, A Just Russia – Patriots – For the Truth Party leader Sergei Mironov, the New People Party leader Alexei Nechayev, and the LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky, as well as Speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, colleagues.

I would like to begin our traditional meeting by congratulating you on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Constitution.

I would like to emphasise once again that the 1993 Constitution, without a doubt, created robust, solid guarantees of respect for the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, the foundation of our state and legal system, and balanced federal relations.

Of course, the Constitution largely determined the nature of our parliament, both its upper house, the Federation Council, and the State Duma, and their role in the life of the country, as well as the high standing of the parliament and both of its chambers.

I would like to add that the Constitution, which we invariably see as a living organism, and the constitutional amendments adopted during the nationwide vote in 2020, significantly expanded the powers and strengthened the influence and increased the responsibility of the Federal Assembly. Perhaps not all citizens have felt or realised it yet, but the role of the Russian parliament in the life of the country has certainly grown, including in matters of forming the top executive bodies.

It is gratifying and important that our current Parliament is definitely a successor to everything that was done on the parliamentary road in the early 20th century. But I would like to say that I think like many other people that in reality these parliamentary principles and the very ideas of people’s power took shape much earlier – we should look at the Novgorod Veche (Assembly). But it was the people’s meetings, the people’s assemblies in other places besides the Novgorod Veche that made the most important decisions in the life of those territories.

You represent the parliamentary parties at the Duma of the eighth convocation. I would like to thank you personally for what many of you have done over a long time because there are people here who have headed parties and parliamentary parties for many years. You know how these years turned out, in what conditions the country lived and how difficult the destiny of our people was in recent decades. There were many disputes, some of which – let’s put it straight – moved into a hot phase. In this context, I would like to thank you and all the deputies of the current eighth and perhaps the previous convocation for the high level of parliamentary culture. Although there are different opinions and views on the best ways to reach our national goals, our parliamentary culture has become so high that it does not allow people to go to extremes. Despite any dispute, you are still able, in part, owing to the leaders of parliament, to organise this work in a civilised way, to show respect for an alternative viewpoint. After all, let’s be clear, the same approach to developing relations between parliamentary parties is also characteristic for the formation of the State Duma governance bodies. I think this is correct. This is the way to go.

I would like to thank you separately for your consolidated position at international venues. It is perfectly obvious that representatives of all parliamentary parties are acting in a united front, and military terminology is appropriate here because all of them are defending Russia’s national interests.

During key, decisive moments and turning points, the Duma deputies show real cohesion and patriotism, essentially expressing the will of their voters. This was also the case in 2014, when Crimea and Sevastopol reunited with Russia. The same is true in 2022, when our liberated, historical regions, Donbass and Novorossiya, again became an inalienable part of Russia.

I know that representatives of your parties not only express their firm opinion on key issues but they are also playing a part in the special military operation, fighting together for Russia.

You are providing much assistance to the front, our heroes that are fighting at the front, their families, and the people of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.

I would like to express my special thanks to all of you and your colleagues for your diligent law-making efforts. Much has been accomplished, and this is particularly crucial during such significant turning points in history such as today, because balanced and well-considered decisions need to be made, and they need to be made quickly. This requires both a high level of professionalism and hard work, as this is also necessary for economic decisions that ensure the people’s standard of living and the implementation of all our strategic plans, the creation of conditions for the functioning of industry, including the defence industry complex, and the provision of everything needed for the Army and Navy, especially today, during the special military operation.

Today, of course, we will certainly discuss plans and what each party group leader considers to be the priority, the most important in addressing the challenges facing the country. However, we will also work together to find an answer to the question of what priorities exist in today’s conditions.

I would also like to discuss the upcoming presidential election. An election campaign lies ahead, and I believe it is necessary to outline several fundamental points. First, everything must be conducted in a competitive manner and in full compliance with the laws of the Russian Federation.

Any interference in Russia's internal affairs will be prevented and firmly suppressed in accordance with Russian laws. We will defend the freedom of our people, their sovereignty and their right to choose their future. The only source of power in our country is the Russian people, and no one else.

During the upcoming election campaign, all political parties and factions will establish their position one way or another. At the same time, I believe that the most important thing for all of them is a deep understanding of the core national interests, their responsibility to the people, to our country and to its future.

Lastly, there is no doubt that both the election campaign and the voting itself must take place, and I want to emphasise this once again, in full compliance with constitutional and democratic procedures, in a transparent, legitimate and fair manner.

Let us exchange views on all these issues.


December 15, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow