United Russia is still in the process of holding their “primaries” in order to create their party lists for their big conference in September (as far as I can determine, this is something like National Conventions in the US, but probably not as fun). The Moscow Times had a piece today outlining how the primaries are going, but the process is so convoluted and confusing that it is a wonder anyone follows it. But that might be the point, to make it so confusing that people don’t want to follow it.
Anyway, it raised a few questions in my mind, not the least of which is this: if Deputy PM Igor Sechin is actually running for a seat in the Duma (which I still think is slightly shady, to say the least), does that mean he is a member of United Russia? I know that something like 5 members of the Russian Government are registered members of United Russia, but I’ve never been able to quite pin down who those 5 (or so) people are.
- Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik (maybe);
- Deputy PM Vyacheslav Volodin (was a member before becoming Deputy PM, and never resigned, I think);
- MChS Minister Sergei Shoigu (supposedly a founding member);
- Vladimir Putin (apparently still is not a member, but in charge, anyway… whatever);
- Deputy PM Dmitry Kozak (I think);
- Deputy PM Alexander Zhukov (actually, I am pretty sure that he is a member);
- Sergei Sobyanin (might have been, but he doesn’t count anymore because he’s Mayor of Moscow)…
Obviously, my list is incomplete, and full of holes.
I wonder if it bothers Putin and Co that we laugh at them behind our hands (and sometimes more publicly) for the mockery they continue to make of themselves. But how can anyone actually take them seriously? And at this point, why do they even bother? I know the answer, of course, legitimacy. But how much legitimacy can you have when you act in this manner?
EDIT: Slon.ru had a piece this morning (or morning my time, anyway) on the illegality of allowing members of the Government to participate in the Putin’s Peoples Front (or ONF). The article actually names names. The names include the ones I named previously, and a few more that I missed:
- Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev (who is running in the primaries, as far as I know); and
- First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.