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Monday, October 24, 2016

Valentina Matvienko: “In the legislature the desired balance of generations”

10 and 11 may, the delegation of the Federation Council led by Valentina Matvienko visited Kazakhstan. In Astana hosted a meeting of parliamentarians with the President of Kazakhstan, and also heads of the houses of Parliament – the Majilis and the Senate. Nursultan Nazarbayev presented Matvienko state award — the order of Dostyk (Friendship) of the II degree. Immediately following the official talks, Valentina Ivanovna has found the time for an interview with the newspaper “MK in Kazakhstan”.

Photo courtesy of the press service of the Federation Council

– Valentina, please comment on the forthcoming elections to the State Duma.

– This is a very important event in the political life of the country. At the State Duma of the wide and significant powers. It adopts Federal laws. It gives or does not give consent to the President of Russia on the appointment of the Prime Minister. The state Duma appoints and dismisses the chairmen of the Central Bank, audit chamber, Commissioner for human rights. At the bottom of the chamber a lot of other important powers. So, as you can see, what will be the outcome of the election alignment of political forces in the Duma, will depend very, very much for the country.

We traditionally hold elections in the lower house of Parliament. Great experience that allowed us to create electoral legislation that fully meets international standards in this area. Passed laws that make it easier for political parties participation in elections, which is especially important for parties not represented in the current Duma. We returned to a mixed system of election and on party lists and single-mandate constituencies. Well-regulated conduct of the election campaign, its coverage in the media. In particular, adopted a law requiring candidates to participate in debates.

A few weeks ago started to work of the Central election Commission of the updated. Perhaps for the first time members of the CEC passed through the crucible of such a broad, transparent and demanding selection. This allowed to attract to its membership of people with extensive experience in political and public activities, does not discredit in good standing in the society. However, the observed continuity in the composition of the CEC continue to work people who, figuratively speaking, carried on their shoulders not one election campaign, are well aware of all the legal and institutional intricacies of this sector.

Of course, the difficult economic and social situation in the country will help to ensure that elections will be held in the atmosphere of acute political competition. However, I’m sure, to the scandals, some of the excesses it will not come. I repeat, to do everything that the elections were the most democratic, transparent, providing equal opportunity to all their participants. Not less important is the fact that the country lives in an atmosphere of political stability.

Every election to the State Duma accompanied by the inflow of fresh blood – new members. There is reason to believe that this time, this influx will be particularly large. In fact, at the local, regional, and Federal levels in the public and political sphere comes more and more representatives of the generations that have grown up, formed as individuals, citizens in the “zero” years. They are much more free from stereotypes and cliches. They are energetic, motivated to action, on innovation. Elections to the State Duma give them a chance to prove themselves in politics.

However, as you know, youth in itself is not all that is required from policy. That is why it is crucial in the composition of the new Duma the balance of the generations, alloy bursting with energy and a reasonable balance that comes only with experience. I hope it succeeds. Much depends on the parties from the institutions and structures of civil society. Including from the media.

– In Russia they say about the General reform of the state Duma, to change the functions of the Federation Council. Will they be changed? What do you think about this? In particular, what may be the form of elections to the Senate whether to return to his old form, what are the different interpretations on this issue?

– I have to say: as to the reform of the State Duma, change the functions of the Federation Council, and other similar transformations, that there are no plans, no leadership, no leading political forces. To comment on someone’s conversation on this subject, I did not feel right.

There is no objective reason to raise the question of radical change of the Russian Constitution – and those innovations, you are talking about, suggest it. Our Basic law test of time. For more than twenty years that he is acting, in any sphere of our national life did not raise issues that we hadn’t been able to solve, remaining on the basis of the current Constitution.

In particular, even if not immediately, managed to develop and adopt a law defining the optimal order of forming the Federation Council. The law provides a degree of selectivity of senators, the maximum possible in the framework of the Constitution. It also provides a parish in the upper house of people who are really closely connected with the regions they represent. Increased the quality of our legislative work. Significantly increased the role of the Federation Council in political system of the country. In short, neither my colleagues nor I see no reason to change anything in the laws governing the formation and activities of our chamber.

This does not mean that the Russian state is in perfect condition. Problems. The confirmation of the difficulties that we now have to overcome on the economy, Finance, social sphere. Obviously, one of the important reasons for their appearance – the failures, the weaknesses in the system of public administration. The initiative for reform was made by the Chairman of the government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the development and implementation of the reform. Such work takes place.

– Does in your current job in the Federation Council, your experience of the mayor of St. Petersburg? How and what are the differences of governance, given the difference of scale of the former and present your work?

– Among the aphorisms of Kozma prutkov is, in particular, that: “Specialist similar flux. Its completeness unilateral”. It is clear that, like every ironic statement, it should not be taken literally. But a grain of truth there. For me, in any case, there is no doubt that for a statesman the diversity, richness, professional, labor, life experience only good.

Undoubtedly, the years as Governor of St. Petersburg – an experience that is well worth it. The set of problems, the nature of work St Petersburg is all of Russia, only the scale of one city. But the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, diplomatic service, working in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR – all this made me very, very much, helped and still helps now.

– How do you assess the level of inter-parliamentary relations between Kazakhstan and Russia?

– Highly appreciate. The Federation Council and the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan cooperate closely and fruitfully. It is a natural. Russia and Kazakhstan share close ties and comprehensive cooperation. Undoubtedly, our relations have long and deep historical roots. But not only that. The friendship and cooperation between our countries, our peoples is the result of the policy pursued by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Under the relations of our countries be placed on a sound legal and political Foundation, created the mechanism of regular consultations at the highest level. So, in 2015 the leaders of Russia and Kazakhstan met seven times. There are regular meetings between heads of governments, heads of foreign policy departments of both States.

The same applies to inter-parliamentary dialogue. Confirmation of this – our recent meeting in Moscow with Chairman of Senate of Parliament of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the current official visit of the delegation of the Federation Council in Kazakhstan. Actively works permanent Commission for cooperation between the Federation Council and the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, co-chaired by the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov.

The Commission has become an effective mechanism of inter-parliamentary cooperation, permanent dialogue platform on issues related to bilateral cooperation, a broad international perspective. Regular contacts of the relevant committees of the houses of parliaments. Conducted joint forums, conferences, “round tables”. Built full and clear system of interaction, involving almost all aspects of life of our countries and our peoples.

An important place in the agenda of the meetings of parliamentarians is the Eurasian economic Union, as a whole legislative support of integration processes in the Eurasian space. We agree that it is important not only to make laws, other decisions determining the functioning of the EAEU, but also to ensure control of their implementation.

The upper house both in Russia and in Kazakhstan are chambers of regions. It is very important to track how are decisions made in the regions, that is, on earth. Furthermore, at the interregional, cross-border levels the Foundation is laid for a real economic cooperation between the two countries. This year will be held the XIII annual Forum of interregional cooperation of Russia and Kazakhstan. In total, between the regions of our countries have already concluded about 300 agreements. They cover a variety of areas of interaction: from industrial societies to joint cultural and educational programs.

We actively cooperate also in the framework of the Interparliamentary Assembly of States – participants of the CIS, the parliamentary Assembly of the CSTO. Coincidence or affinity of positions of Russia and Kazakhstan on major international and regional issues provide the basis for cooperation in the international arena, including within the framework of the inter-Parliamentary Union, and other international forums.

Photo courtesy of the press service of the Federation Council

– What do you think about the transfer of capitals? The capital of Kazakhstan moved from Almaty to Astana, in the XVIII century in Russia, the capital was moved from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. Do you see in such phenomena some analogy? How it justifies itself, and what, in your opinion, is caused, which leads?

– I think this is the question that has no universal, suitable for all countries answer. Each state, each nation must decide for him based on specific historic features and contemporary realities.

In any case, the transfer of the capital was always a certain focus of national preferences – the geographical, historical, cultural. If we talk about the transfer of the capital to Saint Petersburg, then the vector was intentionally set by Peter the Great, aiming to cut through the “window to Europe”, to adopt the European way of development of Russia.

Kazakhstan decided to move the capital to Astana. Today it is evident that it was justified. You actually built a new, modern, architecturally interesting city. I like Astana, it’s nice to note that Alma-ATA is also a very beautiful city – not faded and have taken a worthy place in the life of the country.

With regard to the question of the relevance of the new transfer of the capital of Russia – and this question from time to time thrown in the information field, then, in my opinion, necessary to transfer the capital from Moscow to some other city. Besides, such issues should not decide hastily, but carefully weighing all “for” and “against”, giving a broad public discussion.

– What is needed, in your opinion, to do to cultural exchange between the two countries occurred as often as possible, and was not only confined to some specific dates?

– First of all, I want to say that for several centuries we were one country. It is clear that it left its imprint on all aspects of life in Russia and Kazakhstan. We have a lot in common. Just may 9, we celebrated the 71 anniversary of the great Victory, 12 April – the 55th anniversary of the first space flight that Yuri Gagarin made from the cosmodrome “Baikonur”. We have a lot in common in culture. We are grateful to the President of Kazakhstan, the public, all residents of the Republic for the fact that the country maintains the Russian language as an official language, is widely used as a means of international communication. All this creates a good Foundation for maintaining and developing relations in culture, science, education, sports, tourism.

And it’s done. In Russia and Kazakhstan annually holds the forum of interregional cooperation under the patronage of the presidents of our countries. In Moscow, St.-Petersburg, other Russian cities regularly go touring Kazakhstan creative groups, exhibitions of Kazakhstan artists. Much is being done in this respect in Kazakhstan.

We see a mutual interest in culture, arts and humanitarian spheres both in Russia and in Kazakhstan is large. He is not satisfied in full. We will continue to develop cultural cooperation. I note only that in this area it is especially important not only the quantity but also the quality. We will do everything to the people of both Russia and Kazakhstan could get acquainted with the best that there is in the culture of our countries.

– What is your dream?

– As Chairman of the Federation Council, as patriot of Russia, I dream to do everything I can to see Russia become a prosperous country with happy people. And to make this happen as soon as possible.

I want to wish you and your country, our common Eurasian home that we build together. Such opportunities we have. As a woman, mother I want on the planet, peace finally came. To our children, grandchildren, all future generations were free from wars, armed conflicts, terrorist attacks. In short, my dream is a safe, prosperous, and harmonious world for all mankind.

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