ROAR: Parties divide “Go Russia!” slogan

The United Russia and Fair Russia parties are vying for the right to use the “Go Russia!” slogan that entitled President Dmitry Medvedev’s policy article.

The new movement established on Saturday said it was intending to support the president’s course of modernization. The movement is co-chaired by State Duma deputy from the Fair Russia party Gennady Gudkov, economist Nikita Krichevsky and famous test pilot Magomed Tolboyev, who holds the highest award of Hero of Russia.

Speaking at the founding conference on Saturday, Gudkov said that Medvedev's article was “a life-reviving breath of fresh air,” Itar-Tass reported.

Gudkov also stressed that the implementation of the tasks set by the article is impossible without wide public support. He also noted that the movement was ready “to support the president if he is ready” to have a dialogue with them, the agency said.

At the same time, Gudkov predicted that “some will attempt to prevent” the movement’s work. In fact, two days before the conference, the ruling United Russia party announced plans to set up a similar movement, the media recalled.

United Russia said it would not allow opposition forces to use the brand “Go Russia!” to achieve their political goals, media say. The party’s press service quoted Duma speaker and head of the United Russia’s supreme council Boris Gryzlov as saying: “The attempts to ‘privatize’ this slogan made by opposition forces look simply incorrect.”

Members of Fair Russia “are ready to support everything while giving promises, but they actually do not vote in the parliament for the most important laws needed for modernization,” he said, reported.

According to the speaker, Medvedev discussed on Thursday the issue of the public support for the country’s modernization. The party then reportedly suggested establishing “a public movement of participants of the modernization process.”

Later, Gudkov’s initiative was criticized by other members of United Russia, and media doubted the prospects of the deputy’s movement.

“The founders of Gudkov’s movement have nothing to do with modernization,” said Aleksey Chesnakov, director of the Center for Political Conjuncture and head of United Russia’s public council for communication with media and analysts.

“Any normal man who wants the country’s modernization will hardly join the movement,” he noted. The times of those who gathered for the founding conference “have passed,” he observed, calling them “marginal politicians.”

“Although the organizers stressed that their project is not a party one, the majority of guests of [the conference] were people associated with the Fair Russia,” Kommersant daily said. Gudkov, however, stressed that the new movement does not intend to be in opposition to United Russia, the paper added.

Soon the two movements with similar names may appear, the media predict. “All this seems to be strange enough,” said Dmitry Orlov, general director of the Agency of Political and Economic Communications.

“United Russia took the ‘Go Russia!’ slogan during the party’s congress last year,” he told Moskovsky Komsomolets daily. “The president supported the idea at the time, because in the course of modernization he needs the support of big political players.”

“As for Gudkov’s initiative, it was doomed from the beginning, because even many in Fair Russia itself speak against the use of this slogan,” the analyst noted. “The party describes itself as socialist one and reckons on support of followers of social paternalism rather than modernizers.”

“I think the whole Gudkov idea of intercepting Medvedev’s slogan will end in total failure,” he predicted.

Sergey Borisov,
Russian Opinion and Analysis Review, RT