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Pro-presidential Parties Fight for President's Attention

Federation Council is becoming a branch of United Russia party

Alexander Veshnyakov, chairman of the Russian Central Electoral Committee, was perfectly right, when he said that the elections in 2003 would not be boring at all. Pro-presidential parties are violently fighting with each other now. Vladimir Putin does not prefer any of them and the president is right. The competition between the parties is becoming tougher as the elections are drawing near. Every party hopes to attract the president's attention.

Until recently, United Russia considered itself as the only political party that could be referred to as the party of power. Yet, United Russia had to give way to the People's Party, established by security services and bankers (Ivanov-Sechin-Pugachev). The Party of Life chaired by Sergey Mironov appeared too - the Russian version of the Italian model. Europeans say, Mironov's party will have a long way to go in the future, they believe there will be other parties formed, the party of happiness, for example.

Pro-presidential parties have recently formed an election bloc with the Party of Russia's Revival chaired by State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov. They will not make it to the Duma if they stand separately from each other, although they have changes to succeed and overcome the five-percent minimum if they run as a single bloc. The People's Party takes votes away from Boris Gryzlov's United Russia, the latter did not venture to attack the party of special services, so they aimed their energy against the bloc of the two speakers. However, the parties do not act deliberately, other people think for them - the creators of the current Russian politics.

Valery Bogomolov, United Russia's General Council Secretary, called upon Federation Council's speaker Sergey Mironov "not to use his administrative resource to advertise the Party of Life on the threshold of the Duma elections." United Russia calls upon Mironov and other party members not to use the Federation Council in political goals, not to implicate senators in the political race.

Valery Bogomolov read out his political statement that had been coordinated with the party's leadership. "The Federation Council has been becoming United Russia's branch for five or six recent months," Bogomolov said in a statement. "Having joined the alliance with Gennady Seleznyov, Sergey Mironov, chairman of the Federation Council, de facto linked his administrative resource to the Party of Life. Furthermore, when Sergey Mironov was added on the pre-election list, his statements started being perceived as a direct or an indirect appeal to vote for the Party of Life," United Russia's secretary said.

Valery Bogomolov reminded, Federation Council's regulations did not stipulate the establishment of political factions. "The Federation Council should stay aside from the political fight. The Central Electoral Committee or court institutions can make adequate decisions, if they see violations of the election law in Sergey Mironov's activities," Valery Bogomolov said.

Boris Gryzlov, United Russia's chairman has been recently accused of power abuse for political purposes. Yabloko and the Communist Party have already accused Gryzlov of this, and Gennady Seleznyov and Sergey Mironov may join him. Boris Gryzlov is the Interior Minister and the chairman of United Russia; Emergency Minister Sergey Shoygu is also a member of the party's Supreme Council; Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov - Supreme Council member too, as well as Tatarstan and Bashkortostan presidents, Russian State Duma Vice Speaker Lyubov Sliska, Agricultural Minister Aleksey Gordeyev, governors Khloponin, Chub, Pozgalyov, Stroyev and many others - they are all members of United Russia's Supreme Council.

On the photo: Sergey Mironov, chairman of Russia's Federation Council