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Dmitry Medvedev starts performing functions of united russia list head

October 10, 2011, 13:45 UTC+3

On Saturday, Medvedev met in Krasnodar with the United Russia party activists in the Southern Federal District

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MOSCOW, October 10 (Itar-Tass) — On Saturday, Medvedev met in Krasnodar with the United Russia party activists in the Southern Federal District. The leader of the United Russia list has not yet shown intent to renew the party, analysts say. The president has to start the election campaign literally manually, because the party had been made for Vladimir Putin.

For Dmitry Medvedev Saturday’s communication with United Russia members was the first meeting after the congress where he waived his right to struggle for a second term in office and agreed to head the United Russia election list, Kommersant writes. The fact that Medvedev is unwilling to associate himself with United Russia did not pass unnoticed. This subject was discussed quietly, but rather lively by two Moscow officials who sat on the sidelines of the meeting between the president and the party activists. “It is hard for him to talk to them,” the younger official told his more experienced colleague. “Because the party was formed for Putin. Who could guess that Medvedev will have to lead it to the elections alone,” he whispered in response. “The time is running out to the elections, but still there is no election strategy whatsoever resting on Medvedev.”

The publication’s source in the president’s entourage has confirmed that the campaign in which Medvedev is gradually involving, so far has to be conducted literally in a manual mode. United Russia, he said, was instructed to coordinate with the Kremlin all the comments by the party or its members concerning the president before they are made public. The Kremlin is also scratching head over introducing some fresh ideas in the campaign, since increases in pensions, salaries and other social benefits have already been promised to the voters many times. And not by Dmitry Medvedev, but by Vladimir Putin.

The event in Krasnodar was held on the old patterns once created for Vladimir Putin. There were carefully selected questions - with elements of the report and PR, requests with which the leader agrees in advance, and so on, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Thus, the leader of the United Russia list has not yet shown intentions to renew the party that he announced at a recent congress. Experts insist that Medvedev will not be changing anything in United Russia now. Because he has no time, cannot do it, and he hardly needs it.

Member of the Board of the Carnegie Moscow Centre Nikolai Petrov, who was quoted by the publication, believes that Medvedev’s attempt to completely replace Putin “will not be very effective.” At least because for United Russia “Medvedev plays the role of a carriage, not a locomotive.” That is, unlike Putin, he cannot help the party to increase its ratings, he explains.

According to President of the Centre for Political Technologies Igor Bunin, Medvedev’s desire to absorb Putin’s achievements can be linked with the fact that the entire campaign had been built in advance for the prime minister. “Putin lent Medvedev United Russia,” that is why he communicates with it like Putin, the expert told the publication.

Nikolai Petrov is confident that the current president will not have the time to change anything in the United Russia election campaign: “We will not see many conflicts in this party in connection with a new person joining it.” Igor Bunin believes that he will not do this. Opinion polls show that although the electoral resource of the ruling party has diminished, it is still sufficient for winning a majority.

Petrov assesses Medvedev’s transfer to the United Russia list “as a kind of mockery on the part of Putin.” According to him, the president earlier hinted that the ruling party “turned bronze” and also stressed the 2011 elections should be held openly and fairly. And now Medvedev “has to prove that he is doing all what he promised earlier and thus to allow poorer result of United Russia.” Or, the expert believes, to demonstrate that these were only words, and he acts like his predecessor, relying primarily on the administrative resource.

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