On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a meeting with his election agents and extended the term of their powers until the end of his current presidential term. Meanwhile, he involved them in the work of the All-Russia People’s Front. The president also restored the Labour Hero title, dwelt on the reasons for the decline in the protests and pledged to put in prison the corrupt officials.
The right for the exclusive nature of the presidential election agents was finally lost from the very first words by Putin, “The election agents would be involved in the work of the All-Russia People’s Front,” the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. However, it will be done “not in general”, but in various trends and sections.
Thus, the newspaper noted that the future of the presidential election agents was determined. They will not be brought together in a separate organization, as some analysts were contemplating: Putin’s two fronts against Medvedev’s one front with one major party for both of them would be blatantly indecent towards another partner in the ruling tandem and not quite profitable for Putin. The presidential election agents will just make the All-Russia People’s Front stronger ahead of its congress in spring 2013, when its future should be determined finally. At a meeting with the activists of the All-Russia People’s Front in the middle of October Putin offered to establish it as an all-Russia public organization. This organization on many functions (the expertise of the bills, the control over the implementation of the Russian development programs) will compete with Dmitry Medvedev’s Open Government.
Many outstanding personalities, including ice skating world champion Yevgeny Plyushchenko, film director Sergei Mikhalkov, folksinger Nadezhda Babkina, showman Leonid Yakubovich were among 500 Putin’s election agents, the RBC daily reported. They were empowered to campaign for Putin at the presidential elections, and now it was decided to keep this club for the whole current presidential term. “We need certificates of the presidential election agents,” the election agents asked to fix their status. “A car and a secretary on top of it,” the president said in a joke. “Let’s not bureaucratize it,” Putin said.
Many election agents were glad about the dismissal of the defence minister, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. Test-pilot Magomed Tolboyev acknowledged that the military have been marking this event for three days. “It is high time to stop it,” the president said with a smile. Then Tolboyev changed the topic of discussion and asked to restore the Labour Hero title for a moral stimulus with a loud support of the audience. Vladimir Putin agreed, but did not promise to repeat the Soviet practice, as it is needed to award for the result, but not just for the length of service.
Political expert Dmitry Orlov dwelt on the decline in the protesting activities, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily noted. There is an opinion that the Russian state authorities are carrying out the repressions, he said and asked the president to explain the situation. The president does not find the protesting movements as something extraordinary, as the protesting activities are growing in any country during the election campaigns. “The highest tensions mounted in the course of the processes, which were taking place during the elections to the State Duma,” Putin went on to say, recalling that he won in the first round of the presidential elections, even in the opinion of the harshest critics. The decline in the protests is not linked with the turn-of-the-screw policy, the president believes. “Any Russian citizen is entitled to express his opinion and fight for it in any legal ways. I do not think that this can be taken as the turn of the screw,” Putin pointed out.
The Russian president and the presidential administration pin special hopes on the format of meetings with the presidential election agents, the Vedomosti daily cited a participant in the meeting close to the Kremlin. These well-known personalities enjoy trust and authority in the society, they will help to talk people into the benefits of these measures, which Putin will lay down in his annual presidential state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday. VCIOM Director General Valery Fedorov said about the deficit of trust on Tuesday, the first day of the forum: even such popular steps as the dismissal of Anatoly Serdyukov from the post of the defence minister are taken with distrust. Fedorov concluded that the trust to a concrete top state official is higher in the Russian population than to some institutes and Putin is keeping the whole unstable structure of power on his shoulders.
In such conditions the country cannot carry out large-scale reforms, which Putin decided to conduct, because they cannot be supported by people, the Kremlin official believes. Therefore, the election agents were called to restore trust in the state authorities that are to consolidate active and indignant people over Putin’s policy, he explained.
The president gives a signal to people, including people, who came out against him in the winter that he is ready to draw the line under this stage and cooperate with all, who, as presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, are ready to criticize the president, but not just engage in ill-natured criticism, the newspaper cited a official close to the presidential administration.