Editorial: a mandatory union
26.04.12 20:39 By Gazeta.ru editorial
The outgoing president and future prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, will most probably become not only the chairman of the United Russia party, but also a member. This is a new thing, for the last 4 years Vladimir Putin headed the party and he was not a member. Medvedev even criticized his future boss for this in his interview to 5 TV channels, saying "If he
Such a criticism could be a sign of principal disagreement between the two leading statesmen in the country whose political system is built according to western democracy canon.
In our case, this looks like a banal, if not coquettish, explanation of an official who takes the position that doesn't bring any points to neither to himself, nor to the party he is about to enter and lead.
United Russia, on the other hand, is not a real party. Though It has the structure of a party and some external attributes of one. In our simulation democracy it has some propagandistic meaning, But in fact United Russia is a tool for our bosses, devoid of any political ideology. That's why the question if its chairman is a member is answered in such an opportunistic way.
We have only one leader of the governing class and he is Vladimir Putin. Putting Medvedev in United Russia and United Russia in Medvedev, Putin still remains above all parties. United Russia, in Putin's machine is the driving belt that bring decisions through the formal political process, for example, in parliament. That's all there is to it.
And this belt is wearing out. Mini-scandals prove it, like when former stars of United Russia, Lyudmila Sliska or Alexei Chadayev, who tried to be party ideologists, leave the party.
But it looks like this wear is acceptable for those who make decisions. In the end, the class of officials shouldn't care about the formalities of the process, they know who is their boss in any case.
The most disturbing signal for those who want to use this tool indefinitely is the loss of citizens' trust.
WCIOM polls show that, in the last 4 years, the number of those disappointed by United Russia have been going more or less stably. Most of the respondents cannot explain what is the party's course. The number of people who think United Russia is just theft and the keeping the power at all cost, is also growing. An equal number of respondents think that United Russia is the party that cares for people and that it's the party of crooks and thieves.
The usefulness of this tool fully depends on one man's authority - Vladimir Putin's. His formal distance can fool no one. The maneuver with Medvedev's appointment as chairman will not distance the party from the newly elected president, and won't unmake them as a "party of bosses." Many citizens will still consider it an organization they can address with their personal problems, just as in Soviet Union they could address 'partcoms'. The officials will still connect their future with this structure.
The problem is that even our simulation democracy must hold elections at all levels of power, otherwise the very essence of this simulation, while expensive and unpleasant for bureaucrats and spin doctors, is lost. And United Russia is becoming a bad tool for getting this done.
Local elections show proof of this: if a candidate declares he's a member of United Russia, this is now rather a disadvantage than an advantage. So it is likely that in the mid-term outlook, when we have our next "Large election", the rusty United Russia Tool will be replaced by something else, some kind of "Popular front" for example. This organization, in its essence won't differ from United Russia, but could be presented as something new.
But this is the future. It's not the new party chairman who will develop the strategy, it's Vladimir Putin, who is "above" the party. And while he holds the authority, the citizens will accept any of his decisions about the governing party.
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