"You must put our office to rights," the president told Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev at Saturday's session.
Commenting on the decision to expand the period during which nationals of Ukraine are allowed to stay in Russia without residence permit up to 90 days and the Russo-Ukrainian agreement providing for free movement through the common border coming into effect on January 1st, 2005, Mr. Putin said, "This is a reasonable decision. It must be taken into account that Russians must not be treated worse than foreigners moving on Russian territory."
"Tight registration deadlines and strict measures were brought in to improve crime control, however especially dangerous crimes against society, i.e. the recent terror acts made it clear that it is easy for criminals to surmount the hurdles, while it is law-abiding citizens who suffer from the restrictions," the president pointed out.
According to Mr. Putin, there is no need to create new obstacles for Russians, who must feel right at home in their country.
At the session the Interior Minister said that experts found it possible to expand the period of permitted stay without residence permit for Ukrainians up to 90 days if they have migration cards stamped at a border control post. The corresponding protocol signed yesterday will take effect on January 1st, 2005.
"The Interior Ministry, the Federal Migration Service and Russian Foreign Ministry have worked out an issue on changing the registration requirements for Ukrainians on Russian territory on the basis of mutuality," Mr. Nurgaliyev said.
On his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that from January 1st, 2005 the two countries' nationals would need an internal passport and an additional note to move through the border.
The session was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Kremlin chief of staff Dmitry Medvedev, Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Lebedev and Head of the Federal Security Service Nikolai Patrushev.
Participants in the session also discussed issues of Russian social and economic development, the press secretary of the Russian president reported.