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WILL UNITED RUSSIA RESEMBLE SOVIET UNION'S COMMUNIST PARTY?
MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - One of the main topics discussed at yesterday's session of the United Russia General Council was the radical restructuring of the party's governing bodies.
According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a vertical power structure and a centralized authority are central to the reform, which will be announced at the party's congress that meets on November 27. The reform is a result of the recent legal changes that allow high officials to become members of the party's governing bodies. From this point of view, United Russia's current amorphous governing structure does not correspond to the new realities.
According to a source in United Russia's parliamentary faction, the party's leadership plans to disband the Central Political Council, which comprises 60 parliamentarians, and to greatly expand the General Council, which will consist of the heads of the regions who are members of the party. After the reform, the number of the General Council members will grow to 100 (today it has 15 members).
One of the aims of restructuring is possibly to remove political heavy-weights like Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu from high party positions. (The latter cannot lead the party because he is a general). As a result, the party will achieve its aim: centralized authority.
The structure of the party of power after the reform will be reminiscent of the structure of the ruling party during the Soviet Union, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In this case, United Russia's High Council will play the role of the Politburo, United Russia's Central Executive Committee can be compared to the Secretariat of the Central Committee, and the General Council, which rarely meets, can be compared to the Central Committee.
The only difference between United Russia and the Soviet structure is that the General Council has a small superstructure, a presidium, which will formally tell the Central Committee the best way to carry out the will of the High Council and the leader of the party. However, Central Committee head Yuri Volkov will not be only an executive; he will implement the party leader's decisions and supervise their fulfillment as well as supervise the regional branches. Therefore, many party members predict that they will have two main bosses - Boris Gryzlov and his right hand Yuri Volkov.
According to director of the Mercator analytical group Dmitry Oreshkin, this is the Sovietization of power. He said that it was probably not a deliberate policy. "These people are simply instinctively building the system that they grew up with and where it is clear to them how everything functions," he said.