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Ruling party in anticipation of changes

April 09, 2012, 13:15 UTC+3

The federal leadership has publicly announced that the ruling party will now have ideological platforms

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MOSCOW, April 9 (Itar-Tass) — Last weekend, the United Russia party held keynote seminars in regions during which it was decided that the party work will be based on three platforms. In the view of political analysts, the changes will help to rid the United Russia party on the political dumbness. And experts suppose that United Russia is being prepared for Dmitry Medvedev’s leadership in it.

United Russia should not be “a party in power,” but “the party of power,” capable of winning elections in an open competition, the Kommersant daily writes. To this end, United Russia members should really renew its leadership, including federal, change the relationship with the structures of the executive branch, as well as to allow activities of different ideological platforms in it. This was the result of keynote seminars during the past weekend that the party currently holds in the country’s regions within the framework of preparations for its congress that is scheduled for late May.

The party’ relationship with the All-Russia Popular Front (ONF) was a separate topic at the seminar, the publication stresses. United Russia members seek to develop constructive relations with the ONF members, but not so as to allow the ONF members to oust United Russia’s. Therefore, the party regional leaders have been told to work with really existing organisations, but not to inflate those that do not exist without the ONF, but use the ONF for attacks on the party.

The federal leadership has publicly announced that the ruling party, which has always called itself a party of conservative centrists, will now have ideological platforms. There will be three of them: the social-conservative, liberal-conservative and state-patriotic. The platforms, earlier not allowed by the party leadership, will be formed on the basis of three political clubs existing within United Russia since 2005. The “ideological diversity” that is not very compatible with the party ideology, was in 2005 justified by United Russia members by the fact that “Putin’s supporters vote for the party,” and there are such people among the left, among the liberals, and also among the patriots. It was decided to turn these clubs into platforms to make United Russia more attractive in the new multi-party conditions.

“The declared reorganisation is a form of not so much ideological as of personnel policy. It will help United Russia to show its own political personality,” political analyst Mikhail Remizov told RBC Daily. Currently, various party members cannot express their position in order to avoid contradictions with the general position of the party, which is worked out not inside the party, but is handed down from the top. “The creation of platforms will heal United Russia from political dumbness and give it an opportunity to express its position on controversial issues,” Remizov said.

Secretary of the Presidium of the General Council of United Russia, State Duma deputy Sergei Neverov on Saturday said that the party does not fear a split in connection with the appearance of different ideological platforms in it, Nezavisimaya Gazeta emphasises. On Friday, this issue was discussed at a meeting of three clubs of United Russia. It seems that the strengthening of United Russia’s right liberal wing is simultaneously taking place. Experts believe that the party is prepared for the leadership in of the future Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev. They also link this possible decision of United Russia’s next congress with Vladimir Putin’s recent consent to head the ONF.

In the view of Vice President of the Centre for Political Technology Boris Makarenko, who is quoted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the chances that Dmitry Medvedev will head United Russia are ‘fifty-fifty’: “There can be no more accurate forecast of this event’s probability. The position of the party itself on this issue is irrelevant, because it does not take this decision. What matters is the opinion of two people. That is how much Putin wants to resign from this post and how much Medvedev does not want to take this post.”

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