Amended Russian Constitution should consolidate society - Putin
MOSCOW. March 6 (Interfax) - The amended Russian Constitution ought to consolidate the country's society and unite all people regardless of their ethnicity, income, faith, or place of residence, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
"The situation in the country has now changed drastically. As a matter of fact, we are living in a different country in this sense, and of course amendments [to the Constitution] are relevant. Certainly, its potential allows us to take steps on these changes amid a rapidly changing situation in the country," Putin said at a meeting with the leaders of the State Duma's factions.
"It is of crucial importance that the amended Constitution should unite people regardless of their political views, the level of their income, the region where they live, their ethnicity, or faith. It is for a good reason that the Constitution is called the Basic Law which should consolidate the whole of society," he said.
Putin said he was confident that "exactly these draft amendments to the Basic Law" would be put up for an upcoming nationwide vote.
"The things that we have in common, even from the point of view of politics, can also be found. For instance, I have never heard you say that the country should return to the 1990s," the president said.
Given all these positive aspects of the country's democratization, no one wants to return to those difficult times for the country's citizens, he said.
Putin also said that before the joint meeting, he had spoken to each faction leader one on one, noting that their suggestions on constitutional amendments were taken into account.
"In working on amendments to the Constitution, we are all thinking not only about this day but also about tomorrow, because this is the Basic Law. Many of you said at different times and in different situations that this Basic Law was adopted in specific conditions, and, if you have noted, this was what I said in my address [to the Federal Assembly]. This is fair. This is so," Putin said, adding that the situation in the country is now different and such constitutional amendments are relevant.