Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for a comprehensive reform of the country's political system, in an attempt to appease protesters who have staged the biggest demonstrations since Vladimir Putin rose to power 12 years ago.
In his last state of the nation address to both houses of parliament as president, Mr Medvedev said he wanted to restore the election of governors who until now have been directly appointed by a Kremlin keen to keep a tight grip on power.
"Today, at a new stage of development of our state, supporting the initiative proposed by our prime minister, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, I propose a comprehensive reform of our political system," Mr Medvedev said.
"I want to say that I hear those who talk about the need for change, and understand them. We need to give all active citizens the legal chance to participate in political life."
The moves were intended to address calls for change by tens of thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets since a 4 December election that they say was rigged.
However, Mr Medvedev ignored their main demand to rerun the poll. His words may also have little weight for the opposition.
Mr Medvedev is about to step aside to allow Mr Putin to return as president and critics say he has failed to carry out many of his promises since he was ushered into the presidency in 2008.
Mr Medvedev had already called for an overhaul of the political system at a meeting with his United Russia party on Saturday but provided few details of his plans.
Mr Putin said last week that he was ready to consider allowing the election of regional governors, provided their candidacy was approved by the Kremlin.
He had abolished the direct election of regional governors in 2004 to tighten his control of Russia's often independent-minded regions.
In his hour-long speech in the Kremlin to members of the State Duma lower house and Federation Council upper chamber, Mr Medvedev said there should be a simpler process for registering parties, allowing more parties to take part.
He also proposed scrapping the requirement to gather signatures to participate in elections to the Duma and regional legislative organs, and suggested reducing the number of signatures required to run for president.
In other moves to appease the opposition, Mr Medvedev called for the creation of a "public" television channel that would be independent of the state.
Mr Putin has closely controlled state television and Russian media have been criticised for all but ignoring the mass protests against his rule.
Addressing another of the protesters' main concerns, he promised to get tough against widespread corruption, saying officials should publish their main expenses.
"I think it would be correct to impose control over the spending of state officials when their expenditure does not correspond to their income," Mr Medvedev said.
Many previous efforts to crack down on corruption have failed and many voters cited this as a factor for ditching United Russia in the election, in which it won only a small majority in the Duma.
The opposition says United Russia would have had an even bigger decline in support from its two-thirds majority in the chamber if the poll had not been slanted in the ruling party's favour.