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    RUSSIA READY TO DISCUSS ITS PROSPECTS WITH EUROPE

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    STRASBOURG, January 27th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russia is ready and open for discussions about its future, Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council's international affairs committee, said at the opening of RIA Novosti's photo exhibition, Decline of Communism - Russia's New Political Reality, in Strasbourg.

    He stated that after the USSR's collapse in 1991, counteraction of totalitarianism and communism were Russia's internal task. "The rest of the free world simply stopped addressing this problem," added Margelov.

    In his words, the resolution censuring totalitarianism in the Council of Europe has been under discussion for several years now, but has not been published yet.

    As for the December 7, 2003 parliamentary elections, Margelov said, "Russian voters have made their choice: communism has no more political influence in Russia any more, Russia will never ever become a totalitarian communist power again." According to Margelov, "it is symbolic that such an exhibition is hosted by the Council of Europe." Margelov, who is also a deputy chairman of PACE, noted that the exhibited pictures depicted many familiar faces. In his opinion, "this exhibition is unique because many of those portrayed in these photos can be asked about Russia's political situation right here, in Strasbourg." He concluded, "this is a living exhibition that will hopefully encourage discussions about Russia's future."

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