Staunton, June 20 – The Duma is becoming “an exact copy of the Soviet” parliament in a double sense: it is irrelevant as far as policy making or leadership change is concerned, and the nominations of the ruling party to it reflect not some ideological position but rather the importance of those selected in other terms, Kirill Shulika says.
That the Duma has been excluded from any real power has long been obvious, the Moscow commentator says; but the composition of party lists for the upcoming elections, always a sign of preferment in Soviet times, shows the rankings of politicians now (t.me/kshulika/31776 reposted at rusmonitor.com/kirill-shulika-parlament-stanovitsya-bukvalno-tochnoj-kopiej-sovetskogo-dazhe-po-princzipu-ego-formirovaniya.html).
“The second person in the state is clearly Mishustin, although non-party, an indication that there are more important affairs than elections to the Duma. Medvedev falls in rank, with his position in the powers now about his past role as president” rather than any future political position. The Navalny attack on him killed his political role, Shulika says.
United Russia “now in general is not some special subject of politics. It is simply one of the parties, although the ruling one,” exactly as one would expect it to be in a system where the parliament is irrelevant to the arrangement of power as was the case in Soviet times and is now again.
But the party list of candidates for United Russia is formed on the same basis as those of the CPSU used to be. “There must be certain prominent names and symbols.” In the past that included “the Soviet woman” and the cosmonaut, but now the same principle holds, Shulika continues.
Nothing else explains the inclusion of the list of Shoygu, Lavrov, Protsenko, Shmelev, and Kuzentsov all together. They stand out and are on this list for reasons other than being party men, and many of them are unlikely to stay in the Duma, although “who knows” given how the system is evolving.
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