United Russia to use names of Medvedev, Putin in election campaigns

AFP Photo / Pool / Alexander Zemlianichenko
The Russian president and prime minister have allowed the ruling party to use their images in the March regional elections.

­United Russia’s regional branches will be able to use the images and statements of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin during campaigns to legislative bodies, the party’s website has said. Regional elections will be held on March 13.  

This decision corresponds with the article of the federal law that guarantees citizens’ election rights. Putin heads United Russia, while Medvedev does not belong to any party.  

The press services of the president and government have confirmed the information. Putin signed his consent at the request of the party’s members, Itar-Tass quoted the prime minister’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov as saying. He said it was “an absolutely technical matter” that has been practiced many times before.

Both leaders have shown their confidence in United Russia, said Sergey Neverov, acting secretary of the presidium of the party’s general council. He described United Russia as the main political force “implementing the president’s and the prime minister’s course.” However, the permission to use their names imposes even more responsibility on the party, he noted.

United Russia has used the images and statements of both leaders in previous elections. It is logical that both Medvedev and Putin consider United Russia and the presence of majority in the parliament as a factor of stability, believes Dmitry Badovsky of Moscow State University’s Institute of Social Problems. The fact that they have permitted the party to use their images in election campaigns “demonstrates the absence of disagreements in power structures,” he told Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.

Both leaders are not going to abandon United Russia’s support, and are ready to back it themselves, Dmitry Orlov, the general director of the Agency of Political and Economic Communications told the paper. The logic of recent years shows that the political system with a dominant party will remain, the analyst said. “It is natural for the strategy of modernization,” he noted. “The decision is pragmatic, and it has been authorized by both the president and prime minister.”