Putin says Duma election 'test' for him

Russian President Vladimir Putin says if his United Russia party wins December's election, he will have a moral mandate to keep the country's parliament and government accountable. The President also mentioned that the United Russia party is “the be

Putin is fully aware that United Russia is not an ideal political structure.

“The party has no stable ideology, or principles for which the majority party is ready to fight and stake their reputation. Impostors usually try to infiltrate in such structures, and they often succeed in this,” he explains.

But according to him, there is nothing better in the country. “It's important that some things have been done only thanks to the fact that I relied on United Russia in parliament. There was a consolidated force there that helped me not only to take decisions, but also put them into practice,” adds the President.

Putin sees the lack of trust as a big problem with the politicians in Russia.

“Remember the beginning of the 90s, they promised one thing – gave quite the opposite. Promised prosperity, gave poverty. Oligarchs made billions in profits at the expense of millions of people, we had civil war, and the country was on the verge of collapse,” he recalls.

People's mandate

If people vote for United Russia, with me heading the list, this means the majority of citizens do trust me, which in turn means that I will have the moral right to demand the fulfilment of current decisions from all those working in the Duma and in the government. I won't say how exactly I will do this, but there are various options

Vladimir Putin

“If people vote for United Russia, with me heading the list, this means the majority of citizens do trust me, which in turn means that I will have the moral right to demand the fulfilment of current decisions from all those working in the Duma and in the government. I won't say how exactly I will do this, but there are various options,” said Putin.

Putin says his decision to lead United Russia gives him the best opportunity to embark on a radical programme for Russia.

“I made the decision to head the United Russia party's list in order to convince people to vote for this party and to help form a majority in the State Duma, which would be in agreement with the executive authorities, the government,” Russian President says.

President Putin says he'll have a hand in Russia's politics even after his presidential term expires in 2008.

“Concerning me personally, there is a saying that the winner is not the one with the power, but the one with the truth. This really has deep meaning,” he stresses.

Analysts are busy fortune- telling – Prime Minister, Parliamentary majority leader or the Head of the Kremlin's Security Council.

President Putin is keeping everyone guessing over his political future, and although it’s still uncertain, one thing is clear – there certainly will be one.

Best option

Political analyst Dmitry Babich from the `Russia Profile` magazine says running for parliament would be the best legal option for the President.

“If the President had gone to business or became a national leader whatever that means – all of this will not be quite legal. The best legal option for the President to continue his influence in politics is to run for the Parliament, win that election which gives him a moral right to demand something from the people and to require something from the members of the Duma,” Babich stresses.

“He is basically saying to the Russian people: if you want this to continue, like that of the last eight years: I'd like to invoke Ronald Reagan. He said once: are you better off now than you were four years ago. Putin is essentially saying the same thing: are you better off now than you were eight years ago. That's a pretty strong statement. He wants to take his charisma and pass it on to a political party,” adds RT political commentator Peter Lavelle.

The President has given his remarks in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk to meet his advisory board – the State Council – to discuss Russia's transportation problems.