MOSCOW, April 24 (UPI) -- In an extended session of the State Council Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev touted Russia's liberalization and embrace of democracy.
"Direct governor elections, the free registration of political parties and the new order of parliamentary elections bear witness to the higher level of political culture in society," Medvedev told the audience at the State Kremlin Palace.
While The Moscow Times reported he insisted recent reforms would improve government in the long run, critics were quick to attack his claims.
Analyst Lulia Shevtova of the Moscow-based Carnegie Center told RIA Novosti Medvedev hurt democracy more than he helped it.
"Under Medvedev there has been a huge gap between rhetoric on democracy and reality," she said. "Medvedev inflicted a crucial blow on the institution of democracy in Russia and bears massive responsibility for its discreditation."
Medvedev also insisted measures were being taken to combat corruption.
"We announced a war on corruption, we know our enemy, and here we will not back down," he said. "Democracy is no longer a curse word. Its prestige has been restored, and the prospects in our country are guaranteed."