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People’s election headquarters of Vladimir Putin in the regions set the task of securing the victory of the presidential candidate in the first round, but do not plan to substantially exceed 50% of votes in favour of Putin, Vedomosti writes. The Novosibirsk election headquarters set the target of 52% of votes, its head Nikolai Fomichev said. Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of the Mining University, who heads Putin’s election headquarters in St. Petersburg, is convinced that it is enough for the incumbent prime minister to gain 50% of votes for the victory in the first round, though he acknowledged that it is quite far from this result now, as Putin’s rating ranges from 27% to 48% in the city.
Putin’s election headquarters in Moscow and Primorye Territory intend to ensure his victory in the first round, the representatives of these election headquarters told Vedomosti. The head of the election headquarters in Nizhny Novgorod Region and Tatarstan denied that there are some instructions at all. “Putin is so popular in the Nizhny Novgorod region that we only have to tell people about his major achievements at the post of the president and the prime minister,” Viktor Lunin, the head of the local public liaison office of the prime minister said.
“The instruction is the only one for all – victory in the first round,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated, but no targets for percentage of votes were set.
No percentage targets were set in the regions, an official of the presidential staff confirmed, but there are several problematic regions, where the rating of the leader does not reach 40%. There are ten such territories, primarily - the cities with the population of more than one million people, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Krasnoyarsk, Primorye Territories and the Novosibirsk region. The campaigning is in full swing in these regions to improve the situation, the Vedomosti source said.
During the parliamentary campaign the Kremlin administration demanded from the governors and the United Russia Party to repeat the result of 2007 (65%). But United Russia gained 49% and the Kremlin refused United Russia's services at thepresidential elections, the governors were instructed to urgently settle local problems and to supervise, whether the opposition complaints are considered in a timely manner, the participants of several pre-election telecom conferences told Vedomosti.
A major rally in Putin’s support will be staged on Saturday in St. Petersburg, but massive actions will not be given a priority, Litvinenko said, noting that the most important thing is that the residents of the city realize that there is no alternative to Putin, and it is harmful not to vote.
The Moscow city election headquarters, which the former vice-mayor for social issues, the incumbent vice-speaker of the State Duma, Lyudmila Shvetsova, heads, uses multi-thousand rallies to mobilize the electorate in support of Putin in Moscow, the Moscow official said. The Kremlin is making major efforts for the canvassing to be made by conviction, rather than by pressure: after several scandals, which were linked with people forced to go to a rally on Poklonnaya Gora, the Moscow Mayor’s Office explained to such initiative-making officials that this should not be done.
The major difference of the presidential campaign from the parliamentary campaign is that the stake is put on political levers for the mobilization of the electorate, rather than administrative levers, the coordinator of the People’s Club and Putin’s electioneering agent Dmitry Orlov concluded.
Dmitry Puchkin, Novosibirsk's political scientist, does not believe in the efficiency of such approach. He believes that the level of support for the prime minister in the region is still much lower than 50% than that for the United Russia last December. No canvassing is made, though a record number of 70,000 absentee ballots (20,000 more than in December) were issued. Anatoly Lokot, the leader of the local Communist party's office warned about probable falsifications.