February 21, 2003
"PRO-PUTIN MAJORITY" LACKS A PASTOR
Political scientists advise the president to do something about it
Political consultants are concerned by stagnation-like stability
Author: Svetlana Ofitova
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
YESTERDAY'S MEETING OF THE CIVIL DEBATE CLUB WAS GLOOMY. THE VAST BUT AMORPHOUS "PRO-PUTIN MAJORITY" MAY DECIDE NOT TO VOTE FOR THE BUREAUCRATIC MAJORITY - THE DUMA CENTRISTS - IN THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. IF THIS HAPPENS, WE CAN SAY GOODBYE TO THE REFORMS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH.
It turns out that the political stability in Russia, established once Vladimir Putin took office as president, scares political scientists badly. The vast but amorphous "pro-Putin majority" may decide not to vote for the bureaucratic majority - the Duma centrists - in the parliamentary elections. If this happens, we can say goodbye to the reforms and economic growth.
Yesterday's meeting of the Civil Debate club was gloomy. Gleb Pavlovsky, President of the Effective Policy Foundation, who coined the term "pro-Putin majority" in the first place, admitted that the majority has become a problem. The people like Putin, but are absolutely indifferent to the parties. According to Alexei Pushkov, only 6% of voters show any interest at all in the pro-presidential United Russia party. The pro-Putin majority "does not have any means of political mobilization," said Anatoly Golov. "The recent elections for the St. Petersburg legislature demonstrated the absolute incapacity of the pro-government party."
Vyacheslav Igrunov: The bureaucratic orientation of the United Russia is indisputable, but the electoral spectrum of Putin's voters is much broader. That is why people voted for Shoigu the rescue-ranger and Karelin the wrestler in 1999.
According to Alexander Konovalov, should the president associate himself with United Russia, it will be an unbearable burden for him. On the other hand, "the omnivorous and attractive president" may just relax - because "all political forces will cling to him", in the opinion of Andrei Fedorov.
That is why political scientists advise Putin to stir up everyone and everything, and rearrange the electoral landscape entirely. They say there is nobody else in Russia to do it, and movement by inertia never results in anything good.