United Russia posts first draft program of United Popular Front
The document appeared on United Russia’s website on Friday evening. Vladimir Putin proposed creating the All-Russian United Popular Front on May 6 when he met United Russia’s top officials. Then, Putin said that the creation of the front would allow politically active Russian citizens to receive parliamentary seats on the United Russia list, even if they are not members of the party. On Thursday, May 12, Putin ordered that a founding document of the front be created as soon as possible and there be a nationwide discussion so that the program could be approved within a week. The program published on Friday was very much like the goals proclaimed by Putin a week ago. It reads that the goal of the movement is to build a powerful, democratic and sovereign Russia with a market economy and support of free enterprise, competition, but also social partnership and protection of workers’ rights. It also said that the future Russian state must be based on equal rights of people regardless of sex, religion, nationality, age and profession. It also sets the goal of dynamic development and modernization in all areas of life based on Strategy 2020 (the plan that was roughly outlined by Putin in his 2008 speech before the State Council and it is now in development by a group of experts). To do so, it suggests that all members of the Popular Front together form a list of candidates who would take part in the parliamentary election in December 2011 on United Russia’s election list, but using a broader program that would be agreed after a universal discussion. “We want this to be a people’s program and this means also the course the nation will follow to be created by millions of our fellow citizens. The task of the All-Russian Popular Front is to open the way for new ideas, to attract civil society – the youth, women’s, veterans’ organizations, business circles, trade unions and all people who are not indifferent to solving the most important questions of the nation’s development,” the draft document reads. About 100 Russian organizations have already announced that they will join the Popular Front. At the same time, the parties that had parliamentary seats, such as the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and Fair Russia, strongly rejected the possibility of an alliance with United Russia. Marginal opposition have announced that they are forming their own Front of National Salvation and so have a number of small nationalist movements.United Russia currently has constitutional majority in the parliament. Public opinion polls forecast that they will get well over 50 per cent of seats in the December election.