Duma Celebrates 1,000th Session

The State Duma celebrated its 1,000th session Friday with speeches and an award ceremony presided over by the speaker Boris Gryzlov.

The session was attended by deputies from the Duma's previous five post-1994 incarnations. Eighteen deputies have served continuously since the first post-Soviet Duma met in 1994, a statement on the legislature's official web site said.

Presidential administration head Sergei Naryshkin read out a message of congratulations from President Dmitry Medvedev, who was in China on a state visit Friday.

"Today we can speak with assurance about the already established traditions of Russian parliamentarianism; about its high professionalism, responsibility and constructive interaction with the executive branches of the government and with Russia's regions," Medvedev's message read.

Naryshkin handed out celebratory certificates to the Duma deputies, who also received badges of honor "for services to parliamentarianism."

Federation Council member and last Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov also received a badge of honor.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who traveled to Minsk on Friday for a regular meeting of the CIS Council of Prime Ministers, said, "I am counting on the State Duma and the Russian government to continue to be reliable and constructive partners" in a telegram read at the session.

In 2006, the Duma officially celebrated a century since the first country's Duma met in 1906, as one of the concessions made by Tsar Nicholas II in the aftermath of the 1905 Revolution.

It passed through four versions, the last being dissolved in October 1917.