The Council of Europe has released a report criticizing Russia for policies that it says damage the level of democracy in the country, Gazeta.ru reports.
Authors of the report say that while Russia is making progress towards fulfilling the 1985 European Charter on Local Self-Government, which calls for the political, administrative, and financial independence of local government authorities, it must reintroduce direct elections for regional leaders, defend citizens’ current ability to elect mayors, and begin seriously fighting against corruption.
Particularly problematic, notes the report, is Russia’s federal law regulating local self-government, especially a recent amendment that allows mayors and regional leaders to be fired by the Kremlin.
If Russia brought back direct elections for regional leaders, it could "bring back the former level of regional democracy that Russia enjoyed until 2004,” the authors say.
There was also a recommendation that Russia ease the ...