Staunton, January 12 – There are many parallels between Russia today and Russia in the past. One of the most intriguing is that now, as in 1990-1991, politicians in Moscow are increasingly unable to offer any program for the future while activists in many of the non-Russian republics have clearly developed ones.
That divide, one that may again cut support for the center while boosting it for the republics just as at the end of the Soviet period, is highlighted this week by two announcements. United Russia says it won’t make any promises because it can’t see clearly what is going to occur in the future, but the Karelian Republic Movement has issued a detailed program.
The RBC portal reports today cites as Kremlin source as saying that the ruling United Russia Party will avoid making any specific promises in the election campaign at least until June 2016. “It it is not very clear what can be promised and therefore [that] document will be abstract,” he says (rbc.ru/politics/12/01/2016/5693dc3c9a7947aaeec9977c).
Further, the source indicated, local candidates will make “programmatic proposals” with “the most interesting of these” being included in the pre-election program. It is important to stress, he said, that ‘precisely these people from the lower levels will propose the programmatic theses.” While he did not say so, that could further fragment the party of power.
In previous elections, United Russia has simply used the statements of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev as its program.
An example of a republic-based group that says it is “obligated to present its program for the elections” and has done so is the Karelian Republic Movement. In a new year’s address to the people of that republic, it says that it will continue to “seek to establish real federal relations between the center and the regions” (free-karelia.org/Menu.aspx?book=texts/160104news.html