Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

Putin hails party merger, warns against "ruling party" tag

Moscow, 1 December: "The era of political radicalism (in Russia) is becoming part of the past," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the congress of the Union of Unity and Fatherland.

Putin congratulated the delegates on their decision to set up a unified party, noting that in making this decision, "influential political forces have proven in practice that they support the unifying processes going on in Russian society". Putin said he hopes that this party can become "the party of the majority".

At the same time, the president warned members of the party against proclaiming themselves the ruling party. "Frankly speaking, this does not call for great wisdom," he noted sarcastically, adding that this would make sense only when authority itself does not commit mistakes and enjoys the support of a majority.

"On the other hand, authority itself will not survive if it does not lean on public movements expressing the interests of a majority of the country's population," the president said.

Russia needs normal political rivalry, and the new party will have the chance to show itself on this political scene, Putin said. He spoke against "fruitless" struggle, which weakens the state system and undermines respect for the authorities and the very essence of democracy.

The policy of confrontation is far from meeting the interests of Russian citizens, Putin noted. "It stands to reason that a significant part of the electorate in many regions simply do not vote or vote against everyone," he said. At the same time, the party and electoral legislation, which is being improved now, "opens new great opportunities for parties", Putin said.

The new party will be able to take a more active part in upcoming elections at different levels, the president remarked, pointing out that "the principal electorate is not in the centre, but in the regions".

The new party will probably face several difficulties ahead, "but it is worth working hard for the sake of creating a truly powerful and modern political force in Russia", he said.

Back to the Top    Next Article