The Kremlin has moved to defuse the biggest threat to its power base in more than a decade by promising far-reaching reform of Russia's political system.
Dmitry Medvedev, the outgoing president, said the Kremlin had noticed that parts of society were "extremely unhappy" about a fraud-marred parliamentary election earlier this month which sparked the biggest protest against the authorities since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
"We need to give all active citizens the legal chance to participate in political life. Elections must be honest and transparent," he said.
Mr Medvedev was delivering his last state of the nation speech before the expected return to the presidency of Vladimir Putin in May. He said he would make it easier for opposition candidates to participate in presidential elections. (© Daily Telegraph, London)