Medvedev supports creation of Popular Front - Putin

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a meeting with All-Russian People’s Front activists in Sochi (RIA Novosti / Alexey Nikolsky)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev supports the idea of establishing the Popular Front, said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who initiated the project.

"Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev and I have talked on this account quite extensively. We have discussed all these issues. He supports what we are doing," Putin said at a meeting with the Popular Front activists in Sochi.

Putin said that Russia’s main political party, United Russia, will join forces with the newly formed Popular Front for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Popular Front and United Russia will then work from the same political program, as well as elections lists at the State Duma elections that will take place in December, he added.

“The members of the All-Russian Popular Front will jointly take part in the forthcoming elections to the national parliament, to the State Duma,” Putin told the participants of the meeting. “By common agreement they will form a list of candidates from United Russia.

The Prime Minister also said that the idea to form the Popular Front, first voiced less than a week ago, has already received broad public support.

“We all participated in the events connected with the Victory Day and many different people approached me at the reception with direct offers to participate in our joint work,” Putin said.

He added that he was encouraged to see a lot of veterans among the Victory Day participants, as well as members of other organizations.

Putin also said that the work on forming the Popular Front continued without pause during the holidays, and on May 7 a meeting was held with representatives of public organizations that supported the idea, after which the coordination council was formed.

Putin also called upon the members of the coordination council of the All-Russian Popular Front to hold campaigns to attract new members to the organization, especially in the peripheral regions. “I guess it would be if the members of the coordination council work in the regions and meet the representatives of public organizations who already participate in the Popular Front or who wish to do so in the future,” Putin said.

Andrey Isaev, first deputy secretary of United Russia's presidium of the general council, suggested staging mass demonstrations in large cities in support of the new movement on the eve of the Day of Russia celebrated on June 12. According to the politician, that could be a symbolic step indicating that the work on the creation of the Popular Front is over and the new unity starts acting. Putin welcomed the idea.

During the Sochi meeting it was also decided that Vladimir Putin will head the coordination council of the Popular Front. An “independent” center for the work of coordination bodies of the new movement will be formed within a week in Moscow, the premier said.

The chairman of United Russia’s supreme council and State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov said at the meeting that if United Russia succeeds at the forthcoming parliamentary election the Popular Front can be used as a platform at the presidential poll in 2012. “If such force expresses itself in December and gains powerful force of understanding then of course it can become the ground for future presidential elections,” Gryzlov said.

The politician also denied allegations that the initiative to form a new unity was caused by a drop in United Russia’s popularity.

“After April 20, United Russia’s rating increased by four per cent, while the idea of setting up the All-Russian Popular Front was voiced by our leader Vladimir Putin on May 6 – at a time when its popularity was raising,” Gryzlov told journalists.