Putin urges newly-elected Duma to build strong Russia

The State Duma begins its first plenary meeting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the newly-elected State Duma to build a strong Russia, but without superpower features: this is the most important condition of preserving its independence and existence.

"We should always remember that the strength and all the makings of Russia’s potential are the most important, possibly, key condition of preserving our statehood, independence and Russia’s existence as an integral common home for all of its peoples," he said in an address to the lower house of parliament, which gathered for its first session on Wednesday.

Putin recalled Pyotr Stolypin’s message to State Duma members, pronounced more than 100 years ago: "All of us should put together and coordinate our efforts, our obligations and our rights for the sake of maintaining the historical, supreme right of Russia - to be strong."

"As we look back on such statements or when we formulate them anew, we always proceed from the assumption that any people and any country have the very same right to be strong," Putin said. "Moreover, we keep this concept clean of any superpower connotations. We never dictate anything to anybody and we are not going to ever do otherwise."

"Russia’s strength is within us," Putin said. "It is within our people, within our individuals, our traditions, our culture, our economy, our vast territory and natural riches and our defenses, of course. But, what is most important, our strength is undoubtedly in the unity of our people."

Putin ended his address to the legislators with wishes of success in serving the people of Russia.

Duma first plenary meeting

Russia’s 7th State Duma, formed following the September 18 elections, has started holding its first plenary meeting.

On Wednesday, the lawmakers are due to elect the chairman of the lower house of parliament, his deputies and heads of committees and commissions.

Putin earlier signed a decree on holding the first session of the State Duma on October 5. He called on the MPs to start their work immediately and promised support of the president and the government.

The session is attended by former State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin and Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko.

First published by TASS.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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