Staunton, March 22 – As one would expect after a crushing electoral defeat, some Russian opposition leaders are again talking about joining forces by combining existing political parties into some new ones (nakanune.ru/news/2018/03/21/22501873/ and politsovet.ru/58409-pochemu-u-sobchak-i-gudkova-ne-poluchitsya-partiya.html).
But as Moscow commentator Andrey Frants points out, “in the present-day Russian Federation, there are no real parties,” only “phantoms which are called upon to imitate ‘civic activity’” and make it easier for the Kremlin to rule the country. According to him, the population if not the analysts understand that (publizist.ru/blogs/109989/24044/-).
The clearest indication both that the existing parties, except in part the KPRF, are not real parties and that talk about their reforming into new ones comes from Nakanune commentator Yevgeny Rychkov who points out that these “attempts at creating a single opposition bloc are possible [only] because this corresponds to the Kremlin’s goals” (nakanune.ru/articles/113795/).
Not only would such an arrangement have the effect of eliminating the KPRF as a separate unit and thus its ability to promote left-wing ideas, Rychkov says; but it would increase the Kremlin’s ability to manage the Duma by creating “’semi-party’ which would have all the appearances of an opposition force but no chances of coming to power.”
And it would be consistent with what some in the Kremlin were discussing six years ago. But up to now, the Presidential Administration has not signaled what it wants to do, yet another indication the analyst says that the country doesn’t have real parties but rather politicians playing roles scripted for them by the Kremlin.
If these people were serious, the analyst suggests, they would be focusing on creating parties rather than talking about combining the things they now have.