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Ruling party reshuffle

February 13, 2012, 14:18 UTC+3
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Andrei Vorobyev, the head of the ruling United Russia party’s executive committee, left his post that he occupied for seven years. He will focus on running the party faction at the State Duma. He was replaced by Konstantin Mazurevsky, the head of United Russia’s young wing – Molodaya Gvardiya (The Young Guard). Experts explain the reshuffle by the strengthening of positions of  Vyacheslav Volodin, Kremlin's first deputy chief of staff, who patronizes the All-Russian People’s Front.

“This is a temporary decision taken before the presidential election until the time comes to reform the party,” political scientist Boris Makarenko explained to Kommersant. “The main thing for the party is as a result of reforms to get activists who will be in demand among voters.”

The permanent head of the party’s executive committee will be elected at a congress in early summer, the daily reported. At that time the party will amend its charter, under which secretaries of regional branches will be elected and not appointed. “Everybody sits and waits: if Putin wins in the first round, “presents” will be handed out and appointments will rain down; if he loses, we will get it to the full and then different scenarios are possible,” a source in the party told the daily.

The director of the Centre for Study of Post-Industrial Society, Vladislav Inozemtsev, was quoted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta as saying that Vorobyev’s dismissal proves that positions of Kremlin first deputy chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin are strengthening. Coordinating the All-Russian People’s Front Volodin appoints his nominees to the party’s main positions. The authorities seek no radical change inside United Russia. “I think no drastic change will occur,” he said.

United Russia steps into a specific phase of development, the head of the Centre for Political Information, Alexei Mukhin, said. “The party project will be most seriously reformatted. To translate this into reality, it is necessary to replace the system’s key elements. Vorobyev’s dismissal is the beginning of change.”

Mark Urnov, who heads the Expertiza analytical think-tank, believes that reshuffle demonstrates that United Russia is in a deep crisis. “The organization agonizes,” he told Novye Izvestia. “This always happens with a decaying organism. The cleverer realize all this and go away, leaving the not so clever in their place.”


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