| JRL Home | JRL Simple/Mobile | RSS | Newswire | Archives | JRL Newsletter | Support | About
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

Shuvalov tipped to lead Right Cause

Igor ShuvalovFirst Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov is being touted as a possible leader for the liberal Pravoye Delo, or Right Cause, party ­ the first time that such a highly placed official has been groomed for a non-parliamentary party.

Shuvalov was the most senior official on a list of possible leaders at a Right Cause political council, with delegates voicing a clear preference for three liberal federal officials ­ Shuvalov, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich, Vedomosti reported, citing party co-chairman Boris Nadezhdin.

And Shuvalov has apparently given his tentative agreement, Vedomosti reported, citing unnamed sources in the government who are close to the first deputy prime minister.

While experts say the party may be preparing to back President Dmitry Medvedev for re-election in 2012, some opposition activists say it is merely another Kremlin project.

New parties, more democracy

Right Cause co-chairman Leonid Gozman declined to either confirm or deny that Shuvalov would soon be offered the post ­ but he went on to tell The Moscow News that he was optimistic about the party's future.

"If we are able to attract people from the highest bureaucratic echelons to the Right Cause, we will automatically deprive United Russia of its monopoly on power," Gozman said. "A democratic society has to have competition."

Boris Nemtsov, a leader of the liberal Solidarnost movement, called Right Cause "a Kremlin project" and a "card game". Its aim was to draw attention away from the real opposition to a manageable pro-Kremlin movement, he told The Moscow News.

"People will have no choice again at the parliamentary elections," said Nemtsov, who hopes to register the right-wing People's Freedom Party with former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and ex-State Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov.

But Gozman dismissed the idea that Right Cause may not necessarily do much to increase voters' democratic choice.

"I think a lot will change," he said. "Even the existence of two similar political parties automatically means a lot. The most disgusting elements of the system with which we deal with ­ such as the absolutely revolting level of corruption ­ cannot exist in a competitive system."

Nemtsov argued that even though the Right Cause is essentially a liberal party with "the right ideas," its biggest problem is that they "are under the Kremlin's wing ­ they are sponsored by people who should instead be brought before the law."

But senior Right Cause officials insisted they could be an agent for real change.

"One can try to follow a distinctive path ­ what Tsar Nicholas I's education minister Count Uvarov referred to as 'the triad of Orthodox religion, autocracy and nationality,' a path which is very similar to what Vladimir Putin obviously prefers," Gozman said, explaining that Russia is currently at a fork in the road as far as politics are concerned. "Or it's possible to develop like a normal country, like the rest of humanity ­ and this is an important choice that must be represented on the political stage."

Gozman added that there was "no evidence that there is anything about the Russian people that makes them particularly inclined towards living in the ridiculous way we live now, as opposed to how normal people live."

A party for Medvedev?

Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a leading sociologist and a coordinator for United Russia's liberal wing, echoed many of Gozman's sentiments. "It can't get any worse," she said of Russia's current political climate.

Kryshtanovskaya also said that Shuvalov being touted as a possible leader of the Right Cause party was a step towards the party eventually being led by President Medvedev ­ which could potentially be a signal as to how the elections of 2012 will be handled.

"A political party is the most important path to success in a political career ­ you can't do anything without having a party... only the president of the nation can do without a party, because his position places him above all that," Kryshtanovskaya said. "If a political party is being created for Medvedev, it means that he won't be [re-elected] president in 2012."

"Shuvalov should do the same that [United Russia's State Duma speaker Boris] Gryzlov did for Putin ­ to create a strong political structure, a kind of prototype," Kryshtanovskaya went on to say. "Once Right Cause has a strong parliamentary presence, Medvedev can join it."

Keyword Tags:

Russia, Government, Politics - Russia News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

Bookmark and Share - Back to the Top -        


Bookmark and Share

- Back to the Top -        

  Follow Johnson's Russia List on Twitter Tweet