Fair Russia opens “Stalingrad front” against political rivals

Fair Russia activists (RIA Novosti / Elizaveta Azarova)
In another angry outburst, the opposition party has announced the creation of two “fronts” to assert control in the upcoming elections.

In a move clearly evocative of the Second World War, Fair Russia has stated that the political battle will be waged on “the Stalingrad and Leningrad fronts.” But unlike the 1940s, this time the enemy is not Nazi Germany, but a rival political party – United Russia. Some in Fair Russia believe the ruling party played a role in the recent scandal that has hit the party, the head of its election campaign headquarters Oleg Mikheev said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, it was Mikheev himself who took center stage in a scandal which broke when a tabloid published online photos of a masquerade wedding ball where the State Duma deputy was allegedly dressed like the Nazi Abwehr head Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. Mikheev claimed the publication was part of a smear campaign, and stressed he was born in Volgograd, where his grandfather was killed during the battle of Stalingrad.

Now Fair Russia has to get a handle on the situation in his home town, as well as in St. Petersburg, Mikheev said. That is why the party’s informal leader, Sergey Mironov, announced the creation of two fronts to operate out of these cities “because of the actions of United Russia,” RIA Novosti quoted Mikheev as saying.

Fair Russia claims to have suffered discrimination while campaigning in some cities, including St. Petersburg, where their newspapers are allegedly being confiscated and their billboards are being taken down.

There are other fronts to follow, Mikheev said. “We will have the Kursk front, and the Novisibirsk front.” The party, which has been reportedly losing voters since Mironov was forced to step down as the speaker of the upper house, wants to “expose provocateurs” and the shameful tactics they have directed against its party leadership.

The dominant party United Russia, whom Fair Russia naturally views as their main rival, doubts that any “front” will help Mironov and his followers overcome the 7-percent threshold in the December elections. “They are always against something – against United Russia, the development and modernization of the country,” said Sergey Neverov, the acting secretary of the presidium of the ruling party’s general council.

He stressed that the Popular Front, created on the initiative of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is a movement that would rather stand for something instead of against everything, especially when it comes to the development of Russia. Earlier, Neverov had noted Fair Russia and Right Cause as being two parties that had no realistic chance of getting into the 6th State Duma.