Putin vows to end police repression in Russia
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Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012, 18:25
  
Moscow: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed on Friday to end police repression in Russia and make government more accountable, as he kicked off his campaign for the presidential election after mass protests.

In his manifesto for the March 4 election where he plans to take an unprecedented third Kremlin term, Putin also promised to build a strong Russia and retaliate against Western states that failed to listen to Moscow.

The manifesto, posted on his new campaign site, putin2012.ru, has been published one month after the start of anti-Putin protests which rallied tens of thousands and posed the biggest challenge to his 12-year rule of Russia.

"We need to re-think the whole system of public security and need to stop the extremely repressive tendency" of the security forces in Russia, Putin wrote in the election programme.

The behaviour of the security forces is seen as one of Russia's biggest scourges due to widespread corruption and iron-fisted tactics. The promise by Putin may be seen as a concession to the protest movement.

"This situation is deforming our society and is making it morally unhealthy. The actions of the security forces should be aimed at protecting and supporting legal business -- not fighting it," he added.

Putin has been repeatedly lambasted by critics during his two terms in the Kremlin to 2008 and his current stint as prime minister for allowing the security forces Soviet-style powers to control society.

But Putin promised: "We will ensure the accountability of the authorities towards the society that they are working for." He proposed "effective government under the control of the people."

The liberal Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin expressed suspicion about the pledges. "I do not think they will be implemented given he has got used to ruling through the security forces," he told the Interfax news agency.

Despite the pledge for more accountability, Putin's spokesman rejected calls for him to take part for the first time in televised campaign debates with his main rivals like Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.

Putin's participation would require a "formal vacation" which would "interfere with his duties" as premier, Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies. He did not rule out Putin sending representatives to take part in debates.

In a stern warning to the West, Putin also vowed that world powers would not be able to make decisions "behind the back of Russia or avoiding Russia and her interests".

PTI


First Published: Friday, January 13, 2012, 18:25


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