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Medvedev reaches out to protest movement

MOSCOW - Dmitry Medvedev used his final state-of-the-nation address as Russia’s president yesterday to outline extensive political reforms that, if implemented, would begin to deconstruct the heavily centralized government built over the last decade by his mentor, Vladimir V. Putin.

The proposals - which included direct election of governors, increased oversight of expenditures by officials, and the creation of an independent television station - were clearly meant to address some of the complaints of a protest movement that has recently emerged as a challenge to the Kremlin.

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“I’d like to say that I hear all those who are speaking about the necessity of change,’’ Medvedev said. “I understand them. All active citizens must be given every legal opportunity to participate in political life.’’

The address offered perhaps the most substantive proposals for political reform in Medvedev’s term, though it is unclear what tools he now has to implement them. In September he announced that he would not seek a second term as president, allowing Putin, who is now prime minister, to run. The arrangement provoked a widespread outcry.

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