114 FEDERAL LAWMAKERS WILL BE CAMPAIGNING FOR THE RULING PARTY COME AUTUMN, NOT ALL OF THEM UNITED RUSSIA MEMBERS
United Russia has a good deal riding on the elections come autumn.
United Russia is attaching considerable importance to the forthcoming regional election. It is known that 92 Duma deputies and 22 Federation Council members will be campaigning for the ruling party. Most of them passed the ordeal of primaries so that they are going to be on party tickets formally. All the rest will be assisting unofficially.
The list of United Russia’s promoters and candidates includes Suleiman Kerimov whose fortune The Forbes evaluates at $5.5 billion, Alexander Bogatko with $1.1 billion according to The Forbes, and Sergei Pugachev whose cost Finans estimated at $2.4 billion.
A spokesman for Pugachev admitted that the businessman was not even a member of the ruling party but intended to go to the Republic of Tyva to campaign for it all the same.
Duma Deputy Andrei Skoch ($1.4 billion according to The Forbes) will be on the second topmost slot, following the governor, on the Belgorod regional ticket. “Skoch is going for it because he is a member of the ruling party. He is of the mind to get elected into the regional legislature so as to aid the region in its development,” said a source close to the lawmaker. Senator Vadim Moshkovich worth $0.6 billion (The Forbes) is also on the Belgorod regional ticket. Moshkovich himself said that he intended to run for the regional parliament in Belgorod and was fairly confident that United Russia would come in first.
Said a ruling party functionary, “It is but infrequently that the businessmen selected for running in campaigns become official sponsors of the party… As a rule, they merely pay for propagandists, observers, and whoever else are hired. Tracing these expenses is quite difficult, you know.”
According to the same source, it is necessary for United Russia as such to show how well it can perform and for deputies and senators to prove their personal effectiveness which will nearly guarantee their own re-election. Vyacheslav Volodin of the Presidium of General Council said this April that the party would examine all candidates for the 2011 nationwide ticket come autumn. Volodin plainly warned that the better the performance in the forthcoming election, the higher the chance to end up on the nationwide ticket.
Senators will have to run for election in regions. The law coming into force soon necessitates that senators be selected from among deputies.
“This June, United Russia’s General Council officially advised lawmakers to run in regional elections,” said Sergei Neverov, Assistant Secretary of the Presidium of the General Council. “United Russia will dispatch federal politicians, mostly in the capacity of propagandists, even to the municipal elections. It is in “problematic” areas that deputies and senators are put on the ticket.”
Territorial groups in Tambov are headed by two deputies and two senators including Alexander Gurov; in Udmurtia they are headed by three deputies including Gennadi Kulik and Yevgeny Bogomolny; in Orenburg by four deputies including Victor Zavarzin, Grigori Ivliyev and Alexander Kogan.
The Party of Pensioners beat United Russia in Tomsk last time. In the forthcoming election, prestige of the ruling party there will be upped by Duma deputies Anatoly Gubkin and Maxim Korobov and Senator Vladimir Zhidkikh.
The election in Chelyabinsk is going to be in the focus of United Russia’s attention. Six deputies will be running for the local parliament there and two others (Victor Pleskachevsky and Maxim Mischenko) will become informal propagandists. Federal lawmakers representing Dagestan in their respective houses of the parliament will go to their native republic to promote the ruling party there. Same is expected from lawmakers representing Tatarstan, Rostov region, Krasnodar, and Chuvashia. The ruling party in the latter will be promoted by senators Vladimir Slutsker and Leonid Lebedev whose fortune is estimated at $1.4 billion by Finans.
“United Russia is aware of the growing tension and mounting protests. It is going out of its way therefore to make the most of what resources it has at its disposal at this point,” said political scientist Alexander Kynev. “As a matter of fact, voters’ choice will have little to do with whoever it is campaigning for the ruling party. It will rather depend on activeness of the opposition.”