Staunton, January 21 – Efforts by party leaders in Moscow to unite Just Russia, For Truth and Patriots of Russia into a single left-of-center party have attracted much speculation about how successful such a coalition might be in the upcoming elections. But the response to these moves by party members in the regions suggest the entire project may fail miserably.
Leaders of the three groupings in the regions, Sergey Leonov and Ivan Chuprov of the URA news agency, say they weren’t given any advance notice and do not plan to go along. Some of them say they’d prefer to leave politics altogether than to become part of something they didn’t have any chance to discuss at all (ura.news/articles/1036281806).
Russian political observers disagree as to what Sergey Mironov of Just Russia announced this plan. Some, like Anton Orlov, says it was likely a plan by the Kremlin to distract attention from the Navalny fiasco. Others, like Sergey Markelov insist that the plan has been in the works for some time.
And still others, liker Oleg Matveychev of the Finance University argue that Mironov made his move when he realized that polls show his party would not meet the five-percent threshold needed to have his party represented in the Duma after the September elections unless it found new allies.
But however that may be, the negative reaction to Mironov’s plans in the regions show that Moscow politicians can make all the plans they want but that if they haven’t worked with the leaders of their parties in the regions (as United Russia does by controlling them through appointments), they face collapse.
That may be exactly what some in the Kremlin hope for; but if so, that too could backfire on the party of power either by leading those who had been supporters of these parties decide to back the KPRF, something that would make it more powerful, or go over to a new Navalny project, a move the Kremlin would find even more distasteful.