Why does UR resemble Soviet Communist Party? Medvedev to answer

United Russia congress (RIA Novosti / Pool)
PM Dmitry Medvedev has accepted an invitation to take part in a TV show hosted by famous Russian journalist Vladimir Posner, who recently criticized the United Russia party by comparing its unanimous voting style to that typical of the Soviet era.

The prime minister will participate in a live interview with Posner on June 4, reported Itar-Tass. The show is to be aired on Russia’s Channel One at 10:30pm Moscow time (18.30 GMT).

In his latest program, the TV host commented on the May 26 United Russia congress, at which Medvedev was unanimously elected the party’s leader.

“It was very much reminiscent of a congress of the KPSS (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) in the times of stagnation. It’s simply striking,” he observed.

Posner went on, pointing out that when the KPSS was electing its leadership, it was done through secret ballot, “even though everyone was aware that the result was predetermined.”

The United Russia members, conversely, held an open vote simply by raising their hands. There was not a single vote against Medvedev’s candidacy and no one abstained.

“Do you understand that it cannot be like that? When several hundred people or even a hundred gather, there is always one who would [vote] against, there is always one who abstains. That’s simply the way people are made,” Posner observed.

He wondered what was different about the United Russia congress meeting and what its members were afraid of – being kicked out of the party or “moved aside from sinecure?”

“And what about democracy?” Posner asked.

The journalist ended up appealing to the new party leader, Medvedev, asking him to come to the program and answer these questions.

The PM’s acceptance of the invitation came as a surprise for Posner, as he related on Friday to Dozhd (Rain) TV. He underlined that no one has asked him to agree questions for the live interview in advance.

“Of course, he didn’t call in person. His press secretary [Natalya Timakova] called me yesterday. She said she was somewhat offended by the way the invitation was made,” Posner said, as cited by Itar-Tass. Normally, such invitations are made officially, through press services, rather than on air, he explained.

However, Medvedev “apparently didn’t pay attention to that and will come to the program on Monday,” Posner added.