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Medvedev Distances Itself From Popular Front - Pavlovsky

MOSCOW. May 12 (Interfax) - In his recent statements Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has effectively distanced himself from the idea of creating the Popular Front, which he sees as a certain imbalance within the ruling tandem, said Gleb Pavlovsky, President of the Foundation for Effective Politics.

"He (Medvedev) certainly understands that the statements by Mr. Gryzlov and certain of United Russia members about the Popular Front are not accidental and point to the presidential aspects of this union. No doubt there is an intention here to create some proto-presidential electoral machine. This certainly breaks the balance within the tandem. And Medvedev most likely disapproves of it, which is why he has distanced himself from this idea," Pavlovsky told Interfax on Thursday.

From what was said by Medvedev one can conclude that the president, while acknowledging the legality of the idea to set up the Popular Front, does not approve it himself, the political analyst said.

"In fact, Medvedev did not say that much. He just distanced himself mildly from this idea by saying very rightly that it is not against the election laws. I believe this position should not be seen as his support for the idea. This is not a support for the idea of the Popular Front on the part of the president," Pavlovsky said.

The reason why the president voiced precisely this position was the behavior by certain United Russians, aimed at lending a special status and influence to the Popular Front in the run-up to the campaign, the analyst said.

"Medvedev clearly stated that the force being created cannot claim some exceptional role of power. There have already been a number of statements by United Russia members regarding the project that is perceived by them as a future vehicle of power nominating the president and subsequently, apparently, controlling him. And the president deliberately dismissed this side," Pavlovsky said.
In fact, the head of state has mildly criticized the ruling party, he said.

"Medvedev's statements contained moderate criticism of the United Russia. He said he understands the motives of the party that wants to restore its influence in the country. I believe the president could have continued the phrase by saying it would have been even easier to restore influence in the country by standing for and winning the election without using any sophisticated structures. But he chose not to argue with Putin on this matter," the expert said.

The recent statements by Medvedev should not be seen as certain clues to a specific presidential candidate from the ruling elite, Pavlovsky said.

"Medvedev did not say or even allude to the subject of who can be a candidate. Because it is a candidate from the ruling force, the president clearly stated that the Popular Front will not have advantages here. The main thing is that Medvedev disagrees with Gryzlov who said it will be the Popular Front who will nominate the presidential candidate," the political analyst said.

Medvedev said earlier that the creation of the Russian Popular Front "can be explained from the point of view of election technologies" and is not against the law. The president said other parties will want to create similar alliances.

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