Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Wednesday that the country was at risk of slipping into a period of political stagnation similar to the one experienced in the Soviet era.
Medvedev's message came in a video blog address that the Kremlin chief periodically records as part of an effort to appear more approachable to the Russian public.
"At a certain point, our political life started showing symptoms of stagnation," Medvedev said. "And this stagnation is equally damaging to both the ruling party and the opposition forces. If the opposition does not stand the slightest chance of winning fair elections, it degrades and becomes marginalised," Medvedev warned.
"If the ruling party has no chance of every losing anywhere, it eventually 'bronzes over' and also degrades, just like any other living organism that does not move."
Russian media reports said that Medvedev would take his message to a Wednesday meeting with the heads of the country's largest political parties - including the ruling United Russia group.