Russia’s ruling parliamentary party, which has always based its policies on supporting Vladimir Putin, will not ask the president to allow them use his image in the 2016 elections campaign, a business daily reports. Kommersant newspaper quoted unnamed sources in United Russia as saying that its presidium has already chosen five people who will top the party’s lists in the forthcoming primaries, and the president was not among them. The sources did not disclose the names of these politicians. They also said that most of the places in the lists would be reserved for regional party leaders, as this would make the primaries “democratic to the maximum.” United Russia officials also told Kommersant that the party did not want to involve Putin in its election campaign in order to protect the president from possible damage to his political rating, because it was difficult to forecast how many voters would lend their support to the party this time around.
A source in the Russian presidential administration has confirmed the party’s announcement, adding that the general idea was to make United Russia more independent and competitive. “The party must now do everything to cope with its political tasks by itself,” Kommersant quoted the unnamed Kremlin official as saying.
Earlier this year, United Russia announced that its chairman, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, would head its lists of candidates in the 2016 parliamentary polls.