United Russia leader, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with the Party's senior functionaries in Perm, that he had instructed the Party leadership to prepare his meeting with business persons who sympathize with the party or are its members. The prime minister made it clear that the ruling party should not cede the business theme to new parties, apparently meaning Mikhail Prokhorov's Civil Platform, which held its Congress last Saturday.
Business and government representatives noted an increasing political struggle. The Kommersant writes that Dmitry Medvedev explained the necessity of his meeting with business representatives thus: "The Party often expressed its support for workers, farmers, the military and social sphere employees, but one has to remember that a considerable portion of our people run businesses. As a Party, we simply should lean upon these persons; we must not deny support to them. Some of them might turn to other parties; it's up to them; but nevertheless, if it is about the support from a significant portion of business persons, I'm confident our Party can keep it."
Medvedev underlined that "the rightist parties have no monopoly to represent the interests of business."
Deputy Secretary of United Russia's General Council Alexei Chesnakov – who is responsible for preparing Dmitry Medvedev's meeting with entrepreneurs – noted that "in politics, the Party is not going to relinquish the issue of interaction with business to anyone; it's one of the key guidelines of its activity."
He reminded that a number of business persons are on the General Council or Supreme Council of United Russia, and that some entrepreneurs actively work within the framework of Party platforms. It is planned to invite some 50 business persons for a meeting with Dmitry Medvedev, not only Party members, but also politically uncommitted representatives, who work in large branches and the high-tech and innovative sectors.
"Again, United Russia does not want competition. No Party has monopoly over voters. Neither the rightists over business persons not the ruling party over other social groups. It is logical to ask another question: "is business ready to support the Party, which has reduced it to the state of milking cow in their home country in the course of the decade it has been at the helm?" Civil Platform leader Mikhail Prokhorov stated to the Kommersant.
Former Labour Minister Alexander Pochinok, who joined Civil Platform's Political Committee at the Congress last Saturday, reminded that "developing business is the key theme in Civil Platform's program."
"If United Russia is scared of competition in this area and does something useful for business, the country will only benefit," he said.
For his part, Sergei Borisov, head of the Opora Rossii organization which supports small businesses said," Obviously the political struggle is become more acute. Small business is 17 million people; it's the force which is worth to be struggled for, and Dmitry Medvedev feels it."
The Moskovsky Komsomolets notes that at the meeting with United Russia activists in Perm, Dmitry Medvedev commented on Stalin's role in history. "Not only Joseph Stalin, but also a number of other officials certainly deserve the toughest evaluation. They cannot be held responsible; yet this is it," the prime minister stated.
"Our history should keep it, so that such things never happen again. Because the war against one' people is the gravest of crimes," Medvedev underlined.
At the same time, he called for the most objective evaluation of historical events and asked not to discard the glorious pages of the history of the Soviet era. As an example, he referred to the Great Patriotic War, which can and should be described from the point of view of the victory achieved by the whole country.