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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deputies Signal Boycott Is Over

APMedvedev meeting Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, second right, Thursday.

State Duma deputies who stormed out of the parliament to protest fraud in last weekend’s elections signaled Thursday that they were ready to call off their boycott.

Deputies with the Communist, Liberal Democratic and Just Russia factions walked out Wednesday after United Russia swept municipal and regional elections Sunday. The Communists and LDPR demanded a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev to voice their complaints.

Medvedev had a meeting scheduled with Duma deputies for Oct. 27, but he will move it up to Oct. 24, Gazeta.ru reported late Thursday, without citing any sources.

Medvedev’s spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, said earlier that the president had “given an order to find a possible time for a meeting,” Interfax reported.

But the walkout has not changed the president’s view that the elections were held without “major violations,” Timakova said.

Elections were held in 75 of Russia’s 83 regions, including in Moscow, where United Russia won 32 of the 35 seats in the City Duma. The Communists won the other three seats.

A Just Russia will propose to Medvedev that election laws be amended to ban early voting, which creates “the ground for mass falsifications,” party leader and Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov said at a news conference, Interfax reported.

Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov met with the heads of the three rebellious Duma factions Thursday, and senior officials with LDPR and A Just Russia said afterward that all three factions might rejoin the parliament within a week.

Gryzlov supported several proposals made by the three factions, including one to resume the work of a Duma commission that monitors elections and another to allow one deputy from each faction to speak for five minutes on any issue at every Duma session, Just Russia Deputy Nikolai Levichev said, Interfax reported.

But the Communists were “not satisfied” with the talks with Gryzlov because the Duma’s commission for monitoring elections would largely be comprised of United Russia deputies, Communist Deputy Ivan Melnikov told Interfax.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said at a news conference that party deputies would not show up in the Duma on Friday, when deputies are to discuss a resolution to summon Central Elections Commission chief Vladimir Churov on Oct. 23, but might attend Wednesday for a session dedicated to the federal budget.

The Communist Party would hold national protests against the election results next Thursday, Zyuganov said.

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky told reporters that party deputies might rejoin the Duma as early as this Friday and would not miss the budget hearings next Wednesday. “The main thing is that we have fulfilled our right to be heard by the president — he has heard us,” he said, adding that he had spoken by telephone with Medvedev on Wednesday.

The Kremlin said Medvedev also spoke with Zyuganov.

Churov on Thursday linked the walkout to the visit of “an important foreign guest” to Russia, in an apparent reference to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Moscow on Monday and left Wednesday. Churov did not elaborate.