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Russians Question Medvedev In Online Forum

Dmitry Medvedev (file photo) (epa) March 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev today allowed Russian citizens to question him online -- answering inquiries on health care, education, housing, and agriculture.

Medvedev was asked about issues ranging from mortgage rates and the supply of medicine to language education in Russia.

Medvedev said local authorities should decide about Ukrainian language education in schools. He also said that as digital television expands in Russia, programming will be available in multiple languages -- including educational programming.

"I hope that, at some point when we've already made the full-fledged transition to digital -- and of course this will take some time -- that any citizen living in our country will have the possibility to use digital channels to watch television in Ukrainian or other languages of the CIS, other languages of the former Soviet republics," he said.

Most analysts consider Medvedev and First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as leading contenders in Russia's 2008 presidential election.

(with material from ITAR-TASS, Interfax)

Russia's Democratic Development

Russia's Democratic Development

Demonstrators speak with local politicians in Butovo about the destruction of a local forest in July 2006 (RFE/RL)

IS RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY MANAGING? Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Western powers seek to pressure Russia under the pretext of concern over its democratic development. He has said Russia is ready to listen to "well-intentioned criticism," but will not allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs. The Kremlin has been criticized for stifling political oppostion, increasing central control over the media, and cracking down on the work on nongovernmental organizations.


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