Staunton, November 1 – The Kremlin is preparing but has not yet announced “a broad purge” of the ruling United Russia Party in advance of next year’s parliamentary elections, Kirill Martynov, the political and economic editor of Moscow’s “Novaya gazeta,” writes in his column yesterday (novayagazeta.ru/columns/70559.html).
According to his sources, Martynov says, the leadership will use two “instruments” to eliminate from its ranks any who might prove to be baggage for the regime: requiring income declarations from deputies at all levels and mandating that future candidates win more or less open primary elections.
Given that those who elected to the Duma next year will likely serve until 2021, well beyond the presidential vote and into a time when the Russian government will have to make some politically unpopular decisions, the Kremlin wants to ensure it doesn’t have anyone on the list who will create scandals or propose things the regime doesn’t want.
In recent times, many United Russia members have been involved in scandals and some United Russia deputies have offered draft legislation that has embarrassed the leadership and reduced the standing of the party in the eyes of ordinary Russians, the “Novaya gazeta” columnist continues.
If this purge happens, he suggests, the legislatures will be less contentious than now; and the chief places for feedback from the population to the powers that be will become the Social Chamber or talk shops like the presidential human rights council.