MOSCOW (ITARF) — Igor Arensky has issued a number of proposals to the Duma that, when implemented, will radically strengthen the power of the Russian president and drastically limit the autonomy of the republics. If the Duma adopts them, then the leaders of the republics will be nominated by the president himself instead of being elected directly by the populations.
Arensky explains his move as a reaction to the recent actions of North Caucasian terrorists who in his view "are after the desintegration of the Russian Federation". Therefore, he argues, the battle with terrorism requires a tighter national unity. To achieve this, the president wants stronger political parties, able to mobilise all Russia in its fight against terrorism, and a new electoral system: instead of the current system of electoral districts, all members of the Duma should be elected on the basis of equal representation. Practically, this would reduce the influence of especially the smaller republics, and increase the power of parties loyal to Arensky.
RPN president Denis Arapov fears that "the next Duma won't have any authority left at all", he said in a reaction. "This proves once more that the Russian Federation in its current state is a backward country with a would-be dictator as its president." Communist leader Sergey Gorbachenko warned: "The will of one single person is imposed upon the whole society. This means nothing less than a return to snorist times."
It remains to be seen in how far Arensky's plan can really turn out to be effective. Even if the Duma should decide to follow him, the authority of the Federal institutions is fairly limited in the republics.
Arensky also said he that will do anything to prevent corrupted federal institutions from giving support to terrorists. He announced that several political and socio-cultural organisations in the republics will be screened, as they might serve as cover-ups for extremists. Furthermore, a special body will be called to life with no other purpose than the battle against terrorism. Such a body should be able to predict and prevent assaults, as well as to cope with terrorist actions like the recent tragedy in the North Caucasian Federation.