Russia » Politics
Author`s name Michael Simpson

Party of Life Woos Putin's Wife

The new party is doing its best to win Lyudmila Putin over to its side
The pre-election race is in full swing, and United Russia has already managed to do something to improve its ratings. According to one of the latest opinion polls, the party has obtained more of the electorate's sympathy than the Communist Party.

It seems that such progress was achieved with the help of the anti-war meeting that the party held in Moscow recently, as well as its campaign against the increase of energy tariffs. The party used the anti-war sentiments of the Russian people to the maximum. People's dislike of Anatoly Chubais (the head of the Russian energy giant RAO UES of Russia) was also exploited very successfully. Other parties and movements have not done anything similar yet. This is atypical, given the Communists' love for demonstrations and meetings.

In general, Russian political life has been rather dull and languid recently. Vladimir Zhirinovsky was hiding somewhere, even though he has always been present at every public event. And people could get a look at party leaders at Sergey Yushenkov's funeral, which took place Sunday.

Another political event took place in Russia last week — the first congress of the Russian Party of Life. There, they elected their chairman, Federation Council Speaker Sergey Mironov. The Russian Party of Life is a party that will support Putin, and it will aim all of its efforts at the reelection of the incumbent president, making it an ally of United Russia.

Mironov said that the party counts on socially active people in all layers of society. He believes that the separation of society into right and left and conservative and liberal parts is considerably outdated. According to the speaker, the issues that unite people are far more important than those that separate them. Nevertheless, the Russian Party of Life will participate in elections independently.  This was a rather daring statement for the party to make, taking into consideration the fact that it has just appeared.

Mironov also said that the party was going to cooperate with United Russia during the pre-election campaign and that a coalition between the two parties is possible after the elections.
The new party is searching for a face to represent it in Russia’s political life. It is interesting that the party would like to have a woman represent its political image. The Russian Party of Life recently got the former Miss Universe, Oksana Fyodorova, involved: They elected the beauty queen co-chairwoman of Energy of Life, the party’s youth division.

Fyodorova may be a very beautiful woman, but it does not seem likely that that will be enough to guarantee the party’s victory. Mironov needs someone more influential.

It so happens that, last week, the Russian Party of Life began conducting negotiations with Putin's wife, Lyudmila Putina. Party leaders believe that the first lady would provide further proof of the importance of the new political organization. Mironov reportedly assured his companions that the president's wife would agree to become a party member in the near future.

Mironov stressed that they were not going to "win Putina over to our side by force." Nevertheless, the party is determined to achieve its goal. Mironov will officially become the leader of the party at the end of this week, while Putina might become a member already in September.

Putina has already participated in a public action that was organized by the new political structure — an action against narcotics that took place in the city of Kaliningrad. Putina was satisfied with the event, so the party's leadership came to the conclusion that it had been a good start for their cooperation. The party is attempting to convince her that the Lyudmila Putina Foundation's goals are similar to the ones of the party: Fighting for happy childhood, a pure Russian language and the spiritual and physical health of the nation.

If Vladimir Putin's wife accepts the invitation and becomes a member of the party, its leadership hopes that she will become their leader on the threshold of the elections. Nevertheless, the first lady has not given any hint of an agreement yet. It is likely that Lyudmila Putina will follow the example of her husband, who is in no hurry to become a party member.l

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