MOSCOW, December 9 (Itar-Tass) — Prime Miniser Vladimir Putin had a meeting with representatives of the All-Russia Popular Front on Thursday, at which he appointed Stanislav Govorukhin, a film maker, head of his electoral team, and many of those who attended the meeting were apointed its members. After being nominated presidential candidate from the United Russia Party (UR), Putin made up his mind to rely in his electoral campaign only on the Popular Front.
Putin does not deny his kind feelings for UR (“I worked on its creation some time ago”), but regards the election results (UR lost 77 seats in the Duma) as natural, The RBK Daily writes. Putin actually let UR move on its own (“it is possible to work with such a majority”) and decided to return to the Kremlin “by the popular path,” without linking his rating with that of UR, the newspaper believes.
Putin indirectly criticised UR at a meeting of the coordinating council of the Popular Front. As a presidential candidate, he would not like his electoral team to be “an ordinary administrative entity.” This is why he decided to create it on the basis of the Popular Front. “This is a non-party structure made up of well-respected people, whom the nation knows and in whom it has confidence,” Putin explained. He invited Stanislav Govorukhin to lead his electoral team (“he is a man of principle, who criticized Putin on more than one occasion”). Govorukhin said that it was a new role for him, and he had no experience in that kind of work, but he would take it up with all the enthusiasm he had.
The electoral team will be created not on the basis of UR, which nominated Putin as presidential candidate, but on the basis of the Popular Front, which will make it possible to show the scope of the support the Russians give to Putin, The Moskovsky Komsomolets writes. The ruling party cannot ensure such support for him, because its rating has always been smaller by far, than that of Putin, and it was further reduced after the recent elections.
Actually the Popular Front outdid the ruling party, the newspaper writes. It is clear today why the Popular Front was created last spring: even at that time Putin expected to rely on it during his electoral campaign. It is not clear what will happen to UR, which nominated Putin as presidential candidate, but was moved to the background.
By appointing Govorukhin as head of his electoral team, Putin showed that he continued to resolve personnel problems of the country, relying on middle-aged people, who are strong and loyal, The Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. He shows that pensioners, offended by “new Russians,” make up the bulk of his electorate. It should be mentioned in this connection that those people are the best disciplined part of the electorate.
Speaking at a meeting of the coordinating council, Putin deliberately refused to comment in detail on the past electoral campaign, The Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Still he commented on the words of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who “drew premature conclusions from the results of the parliamentary elections in Russia, without waiting for reports of observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR).” Putin refuted criticism of the electoral campaign, hurled by the people “who go to America, who are trained there, who receive money and purchase equipment there, and who return to Russia for staging provocations and urging people to take to the streets.”