Putin’s party vows to lead modernization

The United Russia party should become the driving force of the modernization of Russia and, for that to be a success, should retain a majority, says Boris Gryzlov, one of the party’s leaders.

“I have no doubts that it is exactly our party which will become the impetus for modernization. Our party should concentrate on fulfilling this task,” said Gryzlov, the Chairman of the Supreme Council of United Russia, speaking Tuesday at a meeting of the ruling party.

President Medvedev has been urging reforms in almost every sphere of life – from power and the economy to healthcare and education. Modernization has become the leitmotif running through Medvedev’s term in the Kremlin.

The majority United Russia party, chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, state that they know how the modernization should be carried out or what threats should be overcome on the way.

“Our path is to progress the country to a new level, increasing the competitiveness of the state in the global world,” Gryzlov said, as quoted by Itar-Tass. “It is a transition to a different lifestyle, higher security and ecologic standards, to the digitalization of life, to a higher role for intellect and an innovative economy.”

According to the politician, the party has all the necessary instruments to achieve those goals. However, he went on, strong government is needed for socio-economic modernization to be a success. The effectiveness of that government should be guaranteed by qualified majority in the State Duma, since only under such conditions can complicated tasks be solved, he added.

”Losing our leading position, as well as a weakening of unity within the party, will ruin the basis of modernization,” Gryzlov said.

Having said that, however, the party leader admitted that there is room for the party’s development. Among the aims set – winning absolute leadership in all strategic projects so that “any creative initiative in the country will be carried out with [United Russia] taking an active part,” Gryzlov stressed.

Prior to next year’s State Duma elections, the party is set to pay a lot more attention to propaganda activities. Gryzlov suggested a publishing program should be developed to explain and promote the party’s ideology.

Following a series of anti-government rallies which took place in many Russian cities, and United Russia losing support in several regions, the lawmakers are slightly less confident ahead of the 2011 battle for seats in the parliament than they used to be. In March, when 76 of Russia’s 83 regions cast their ballots choosing authorities at different levels, the Communist Party performed unexpectedly strongly. Support for United Russia slipped in several areas – most prominently in Irkutsk, one of Siberia’s largest cities, where a Communist candidate was elected Mayor.

The next election campaign will not be easy, warned Secretary of United Russia's General Council Presidium Vyacheslav Volodin, Interfax writes. The opposition, he said, will increase its pressure on United Russia and will try to campaign mainly calling on everyone to vote against the ruling party. At the same time, the politician noted that “it is quite natural” that political competition leads to tougher fighting between parties. “We are ready for that,” Volodin added.