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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

Rivals Scoff At One Russia's Soviet Style Congress

Kremlin and Saint Basil'sOne Russia's congress of 27 November 2011, to nominate Vladimir Putin as candidate for the presidency, was "not a political event but a propaganda ritual", according to the Communist Party's first deputy chairman, Ivan Melnikov. "They don't have a single argument in their favour other than the moth-eaten line that it was all worse in the 1990s. But what they forget to add is that back then oil was 10-15 dollars a barrel while it's been nearly 100 dollars for the past 10 years," he told journalists in a report by RIA Novosti news agency. "But all the opportunities that this brought were used not for the public or state interest but to benefit big business and bureaucracy."

The Liberal-Democratic Party likened the congress to the Soviet Communist Party. "The CPSU held 28 congresses and didn't get round to the 29th," party leader Vladimir Zhirinovskiy said. "But we saw it today." It even used the same old tricks as the Soviet party, he continued: "the same milkmaids, officers and steel mill workers" with "hired hands shouting all the slogans - it's not their congress, or party, or ideas."

It would probably be better to call off the 4 March presidential election, according to the LDPR's deputy faction leader in the Duma, Igor Lebedev. "It would be cheaper for the country and easier for the voters," he said, because Putin was not being nominated as a candidate but anointed as a head of state.

The comparison to Soviet times was also raised by A Just Russia, whose deputy faction leader in the Duma, Gennadiy Gudkov, said it was "a bad copy of a CPSU congress". He objected to the fact that the One Russia congress was broadcast live for two hours and thought it gave One Russia a campaign advantage.


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