Head of Popular Front promises soft makeover of ruling party

Deputy Prime Minister and Chief of Government Staff Vyacheslav Volodin conducts a meeting of the Popular Front headquarters in Moscow. (RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi)
The head of the All-Russian Popular Front on Monday said that the organization will have a long political life and that it will help to conduct mild reform in the United Russia party.

­Vyacheslav Volodin who works as a deputy to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and who was elected to head Putin’s latest political creation, the All-Russian Popular Front, on Monday said that the front had received applications from 500 public organizations. He also said that the number of applications from citizens in also growing and recalled that last week the founders of the front decided that they would allow working collectives to join the organization.

“All who are not indifferent to the country’s fate and the decisions that are taken, will be able to put themselves to good use,” Volodin told reporters.

The politician also added that, by representing a broad circle of public organizations, the Front will be able to create a balance of interests in the future parliament.

Volodin said that the representatives of the public organizations that have supported the Popular Front can become a fresh reserve for the United Russia – Russia’s leading political party, also headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. “Through this, a soft renewal of the party must take place. Through an influx of the active people who had no opportunity to be elected before. Those who join today include those who are the future reserve of the party and those who want to realize their potential will have such opportunity,” Volodin said.

The politician said that the Popular Front must become a sort of a lift for the active part of society and repeated the promise that United Russia would give at least 150 parliamentary seats from the list of 600 party candidates at the forthcoming elections to the members of the Popular Front who are not in the United Russia. The list of candidates will be formed during primaries.

Volodin added that the organizational stage in the creation of the new political entity was almost over and said that the organizational committee would now switch to essential issues – first of all to the political program of the front, which he called the “people’s program”. For this, various members of the front will make visits to Russian regions and create feedback. “Our task is not only to explain the reason behind the creation of the front, but to hear the people,” he said. The emissaries will start by discussing the country’s budget for 2012 and also the draft budget for 2013 and 2014. Volodin said that such an approach would allow to see the problems in the documents and to avoid the mistakes. “We would like the same openness to be realized on the regional level,” the official added.

The All-Russian Popular Front was created on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s initiative in May. Putin said that a quarter of people on United Russia’s list of candidates for parliament will be given to participants of the front, who are not members of the ruling party. The reaction to the initiative was mixed – some politicians have claimed they would join the new movement, while some established political parties, including the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Fair Russia party strongly rejected such a possibility.