Medvedev Appeals for Open Debate

President-elect Dmitry Medvedev urged experts outside the Kremlin to stimulate public debate about the economic and social challenges facing the country.

"I remain a supporter of open discussion," Medvedev said Tuesday when inaugurating his informal think tank, the Moscow-based Institute of Modern Development. "The authorities do not need compliments or flattery from the expert community, they need public and comprehensive discussion."

The Institute of Modern Development was formed out of the Center for the Development of an Information Society, a think tank advising Medvedev in his previous role as first deputy prime minister in charge of major social projects.

These "national projects" are designed to translate the country's growing wealth into better housing, medical care, education and agriculture.

Medvedev said in televised remarks at the opening of the institute that "civil society should have an opportunity to control the implementation of social policy," and said open debate would be a way to do this.

At the first seminar Medvedev will discuss how the country could use the window of opportunity created by the international financial turmoil, Interfax reported.