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"Edinaya Russia". With Putin

"Edinaya Russia". With Putin
Michael Nejzhmakov 29.04.2008

On April, 15 this year an event about which members of "Edinaya Russia" had been talking for long took place. Vladimir Putin at last agreed to become the chairman of the "party in power" at the congress of the party continued two days in Moscow, in Gostinny Dvor. Though "Edinaya Russia" has wait a little - till May, 7 when Vladimir Vladimirovich will transfer authority to the successor. And though Dmitry Medvedev, contrary to the surname he has, has not joined yet "bears", it doesn't belittle a victory of "Edinaya Russia". As well as the value of this congress.

Happy End for «300 Spartans»

We had already had to write about the difference between the ruling party and "party in power". The first is usually created irrespective of the state bodies and, having occupied leading positions in the parliament, forms executive authority. The second - is being formed by executive authority to represent its interests in the parliament. Actually it's - «300 Spartans» of the government in representative bodies. Initially "parties in power" appeared to be short-lived structures very quickly losing even minimal popularity and soon disappearing after becoming oppositional. At best prime-minister headed similar associations but not the president. Becoming the satrap of such party was perceived as an "exile", at that not very honourable. The greatest distribution of "parties in power" received in the countries of CIS. However, "Gaulists" from the party "In Support of Republic" in France possessed similar properties.

"Edinaya Russia" surprised political scientists and inhabitants by its long-life - in fact almost every year disintegration and fast nonexistence were forecasted to it. It became a sensation that Vladimir Putin personally headed its list on last parliamentary elections. Absolutely rare phenomenon for "parties in power" took place - it was headed by the working president, let it be leaving and formally occupying a post of chairman of party only after leaving the Kremlin.

Nobody doubts that it's unconditional victory for "Edinaya Russia". It's very seldom when "parties in power" aqure so high-rating leader. At last, the competitors wishing to lean on Putin's authority now will have fewer opportunities, than during parliamentary elections.

On Arena, but Not the Gladiator

It's more difficult with Putin. On the one hand, he receives additional opportunities as party "vertical of authority" focused directly on him. By the way, important role in returning of former presidents to the post of the heads of the states (as it was, say, with Ion Iliesku in Romania) was played by support of own strong party. On the other hand, the lay of the land in the Russian party space is defined not so much by its elements but by the connection with bureaucratic system. Completely clear, that "party in power" is "a party of the Kremlin" and not "Putin's Party". It is necessary to recollect also that "Edinaya Russia" was created not on a precise ideological basis and not even from "checked up colleagues" of gross national product. "Edinaya Russia" is a whole mosaic of interests, own regional administrative and economic leaders can be sometimes closer to their bearers.

Really, cases when the government starts to be formed on results of parliamentary elections and on the basis of the parliamentary majority though there is nothing said about it in the legislation - simply in a context of "legal custom" (as it occurs, for example, in France) are known. However, similar precedents usually take place in the states with mature party system where parties are independent enough. Therefore the fact of becoming prime-minister of the government the head of the party in power do not transform it automatically in the ruling one.

Besides in modern Russia the politicians applying for a role of national or regional leaders traditionally tried to emphasize their being above party affiliation. Taking into account that the State Duma even in the former years was in the greater degree law-advisory body, rather than legislative one and that the Russian public policy loses in popularity even to "Anshlag" and "Krivoje Zerkalo", position of the national leader becoming the participant of this policy becomes ambiguous. It resembles Ancient Roman emperor who instead of submitting crucial gesture from his place during gladiatorial fights would go down on arena and took part in them. There was, by the way, such precedent - with emperor Kommod becoming the hero of the sensational several years ago film "Gladiator". Hollywood producers of the film intrenched a little upon the historical truth but the death of the real Kommod differed just a little from "cinema" one.

In Avant Guarde - Not "Muse - transport"

Probably, Putin's environment will try to take steps which will help to avoid all these problems - both to "Edinaya Russia" and Putin. Measures in this direction are being undertaken - though indirect meanwhile.

1. It is possible to try to connect more strongly with "Edinaya Russia" not only "national leader" Putin but also elected president Medvedev. He has not joined "Edinaya Russia" but unprecedented earlier promotion of the Kremlin candidate from the party also means something.

2. Strengthening of a party management by the heads of leading state corporations and the chapter of Administration of the President took place already in autumn of 2006.

3. The tendency to forming of the inner-party vertical focused not on regional leaders but on the central apparatus of "Edinaya Russia" is obvious. Different steps in that direction were undertaken already long time ago. Probably, one of them - introduction into the Supreme Council of the party of the most popular governors alongside with a rule according to which now they cannot personally head regional branches of the party. Certainly, the post of the heads of party branches are basically occupied by persons close to governors and chapters of republics but some basis for independence of party functionaries nevertheless has appeared.

4. Attempts to strengthen ideologically "Edinaya Russia" ideologically have renewed - here you are actual renewal of inner-party discussion died away about two years ago. The work of party debatable clubs became the second on its significance event of the congress. "State Patriotic Club" added to already existing for a long time liberal - conservative "Club of November, 4" (among which leading representatives was Vladimir Pligin) and to "Center of Social - Conservative Policy" (which position is being sounded by the deputies Andrey Isaev and Igor Igoshin). It is interesting that it's publicly represented by deputy Irina Jarovaja, instead of more known on a field of this ideology Ivan Demidov. However, that fact that to supervise discussion, according to Vyacheslav Volodin, most likely will be the head of the Center of Social - Conservative Policy Jury Shuvalov it is possible to raise a question: whether this discussion real and competitive and not simple imitation?

5. Opportunities of "Edinaya Russia" itself extend: in fact other former applicant for a role of "the second party in power" - "Fair Russia" - is now in obvious crisis. Till now any left-centrist project did not live longer one elective cycle. "Social-Revolutionary", in opinion of many experts, can repeat the destiny of the predecessors. While situation at last regional elections induces to assume that new left-centrist project will be hardly conceived as "the second party in power".

6. Last months show that the Kremlin sees "Edinaya Russia" as one of the basic platforms for show-down of relations inside of regional elites. It is important taking into account that any public show-down of such relations (during elections, for example) even at declaring of loyalty of all sides to the federal center are rigidly stopped - let's recollect the destiny of the mayors of some regional centers.

7. An opportunity of strengthening of positions of Putin in executive authority - both central and regional is not excluded. Not for nothing rotation of governors was rather intensively carried out within last months. In the near future change of the heads of some key regions - even such problem as Tatarstan and Bashkiria - is quite probable. Besides conversations on possible expansion of powers of prime-minister - for example, about resubordination to him of plenipotentiaries - proceed. However, Putin denied an opportunity of redistribution of powers between the Kremlin and the White House.

Not the Last Heroes of the Authority Island

Nevertheless final outlines of "authority island" will be clear only by the end of May - after formation of new government and Administration of the President. In view of reduction of a field of public policy up to May analytics will discuss about the way things are in apparatus policy - it's good thing that there are a lot of space for imagination here.

A version of possible returning of Alexander Voloshin to the management of Administration of the President already heading the body in the first Putin's presidential term is popular in political circles. This rumours is based on association "Medvedev -liberal". But this association in any way does not explain Voloshin's nominee. Меdvedev really worked for some time under his management in the Administration of the President but appeared there due to Putin and not Voloshin. Preservation of this post for Sergey Sobjanin is more probable. He is also can be connected with "the Kremlin liberals" but thus he nevertheless is considered to be a person who is above struggle of groupings and can personify additionally continuity in the Kremlin. Besides, he headed Dmitry Medvedev's pre-election staff not for nothing. In more long-term future arrival of someone from Medvedev's colleagues from "Gazprom" or close to him "Petersburg lawyers" of the second generation to the management of presidential Administration is probable. Let's say, already named as candidates on high posts of plenipotentiary of the president of the Russian Federation in Volga region Alexander Konovalov or the chapter of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation Anton Ivanov.

Moving of vice-president of the Administration of the President Igor Sechin from the Old Square to the White House is quite probable. He traditionally occupies high position in Putin's apparatus. However transition in governmental body of all persons considered as informal leaders of "the Kremlin security officials", nevertheless, is not so probable. Rearrangements in the power block seem improbable in the nearest months. Some experts designate already mentioned A.Ivanov and A. Konovalov to the posts of the Public prosecutor of the Russian Federation and Minister of Justice but fast changes in so serious spheres nevertheless will hardly follow. However, one exception is possible - transition to new work of the chapter of Ministry of Internal Affairs Rashid Nurgaliev. A post or plenipotentiary in the Volga region or the head of Tatarstan is being fudged to him. Retiral of the deputy minister Alexander Chekalin from the post of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was perceived by many experts as a harbinger of resignation of the minister himself - that is quite probable.

While Dmitry Kozak has all chances to leave the post of the head of the Minister of Regional Development to occupy the post of the vice-president of Administration of the President which he already occupied several years ago. He can counterbalance influence of the main Kremlin political strategist Vladislav Surkov in the Administration of the President. By the way, mass-media in 2004 informed about dissensions between Surkov and Kozak concerning regional election campaigns so if our forecast would appear to be true, an additional factor could appear in rotation of regional elites and the regional policy would become a little bit more public. By the way, returning of Kozak to Moscow from Southern federal district coincided with amplification of Dmitry Medvedev's positions in the cabinet.

New expectations are always connected with the new head of the state. One wait for "liberal thawing weather" at Меdvedev. Others - transformation of "Edinaya Russia" into the true party in power and Russia as a whole - almost to parliamentary republic. And all wait with interest how two politicians with so high and practically equal mandate of trust will get on together in the imperious corridors of power. However, experience shows that expectations of changes always appear to be more fascinating, than changes. The situation in authority speaks more likely that positions of politicians will vary, while no one is interested to change seriously the existing system. Figuratively speaking existing political system is an apartment of rather conservative family where people can exchange rooms but are not going to redesign a room and even to move seriously furniture. A question is different: for how long population of Russia will remain in this "political apartment" "just for decoration"?

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