Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that Russia's form of government needs a strong presidency, warning that parliamentary democracy could spell the "death" of the country.
"For all my respect for the parliamentary form of democracy, I believe that a parliamentary democracy in Russia would mean the death of Russia as a country," Medvedev said in an interview with the media from G8 countries.
"Russia must remain a presidential republic for decades or even hundreds of years to come in order to stay united," Medvedev said ahead of the G8 summit in Japan next week.
The new Russian president also said that competition among various political forces was a necessary ingredient if Russia were to be a successful country in the future, but stressed that this competition had to take place within the law.
"To ensure that our country remains competitive on a global scale, we must have political competition," Medvedev said.
"But it must be rational. It must be competition built on the law."
Medvedev's predecessor in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, was strongly criticised in the West for rolling back some democratic freedoms in Russia, notably in the wake of the 2004 Beslan school massacre.