“A lot of what he said was very people-orientated, and it was clear that he receives a lot of his ideas from grassroots. I and many of my comrades share his ideas,” he told The Moscow Times.
Ponomaryov, a former Communitst youth activist who last year switched to the pro-Kremlin socialist A Just Russia, added that he used the meeting to criticize traditional U.S. policy toward the country’s opposition. “They limited themselves to right-wing liberals who compromised the concept of democracy and freedom,” he said.
Other round-table participants were Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, former chess champion Garry Kasparov, Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin, former Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov and Leonid Gozman, leaders of Right Cause, another Kremlin-sponsored opposition party.
President Speaks of U.S. Humility to Opposition
8 July 2009- By Nikolaus von Twickel / The Moscow Times
U.S. President Barack Obama told opposition and civic society representatives Tuesday that Americans and Russians must learn from each other and that it was important for him to show humility.
“I think in the past there’s been a tendency for the United States to lecture rather than to listen,” Obama said during a round-table discussion with eight handpicked opposition politicians that lasted almost 90 minutes in the Ritz Carlton hotel.
“[To] not simply tolerate dissenting voices but also to respect and recognize [them]” helped solidify the U.S. government “during some very difficult times,” he said, according to a transcript published on the White House’s web site.
Boris Nemtsov, co-head of the Solidarity movement, told Obama that “resetting” the opposition’s relations with the Kremlin was complicated.