Designed to up the rating of the ruling party and its leader, United Russia public receptions turned out to be a failure.

Premier Vladimir Putin visited one of his public receptions the other day. The Russians are encouraged to go to these public receptions or call centers with their problems. And go there they do – with complaints against performance of public works departments and countless other problems. United Russia leader attentively listened to all complainants who happened to visit the reception that day, jotted down details, and promised to see what he could do.

United Russia functionaries admit that productive action in connection with absolutely all complaints and pleas is not always possible. According to official data from the United Russia leader’s public reception in Vladimir, only 22% supplicants had their requests granted and complaints acted upon.

It means that 78% or all the rest found their hopes crushed. In other words, it is not to Putin’s public receptions that they will probably appeal next time.

The conclusion is as follows: thought up and established to improve party life and its repute, public receptions inevitably lead the ruling party to the loss of both. Smears on the image of United Russia are nothing to lose any sleep over, but smears on the image of its leader are a different matter altogether. The impression is that when it was establishing public receptions throughout the country with much pomp, United Russia never even thought that it might come to that.

It is already rumored that whoever invented public receptions in the first place are now looking for an excuse to shut them down. Or, at least, to stick some other name to them.

However elegantly they might try to cloth it, the decision to shut down public receptions will inevitably affect United Russia’s rating. Their abolition will be tantamount to admission of defeat. Leaving things are they are, on the other hand, may cost the ruling party leader all of his rating in time for the 2012 election.

There is, however, another angle to look at the problem from. One might fancy Putin making promises to whoever asks for help – and really keeping his promises. That it is going to be extremely costly goes without saying but surely the rating is worth the expense. It seems, however, that Putin dislikes this populism. He has chosen another option, more demanding but also more honest. Instead of making wild promises, he merely shows that he takes his party responsibilities seriously. And rationally. After all, not even the Lord himself answers every prayer.

It is on this rationale that Putin relies in terms of the forthcoming election of the president. Election where he will apparently participate in.