Wednesday, April 19, 2006

From our own correspondent - Russian Politics Revisited

As the snow begins to melt, my Moscow-based spy emerges from hibernation, blinking, smelly and scattering empty vodka bottles and crumpled fag packets, to draw our attention to this marvellous article (paid subscription) in the Moscow Times:

The party in power, "United Russia", is closely related to the Kremlin and bound to win any elections that are likely to take place. Nevertheless, they have decided that they need to develop a platform and policies.... That's right, they became the party in power without any.

To add to the confusion, they are not doing it because they want/need to appeal to voters, but because President Putin's chief of staff "told them it was necessary to come up with an ideology before the elections... [in order to]...preempt criticism from the West".

It is not clear whether he also told them what policies to include, or whether any of the policies will in fact be enacted. Gotta love that way of building a political/civil culture.

All good fun indeed. Yet, perhaps this is not a purely Russian phenomenon:
  • Taking office before publishing any policies?
  • Not needing to appeal to voters?
Isn't that how the EU Commission operates?


The Nameless One said...

Interestingly that could be David Cameron's strategy as well - let's face it, he is not putting forward any policies and the polls say the Tories are not appealing to the voters. The stumbling block for him may be the "taking office" bit though.

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

TNT (unfortunate acronym, but there we go)

Is that you Moai? If not, hello and welcome.

I had thought much the same about young Cameroon, but at least he will have to
a) publish a manifesto before an election and
b) suffer the ignominy of popular election if he wishes to take power
neither of which tedious hurdles troubles our chums in Brussels.

Principles, policies, power. That is the way to do it. Sigh.


dearieme said...

Was it Terry-Thomas who had the very saying for these New Labour twats? "You're a shower, a complete shower."

FishAreFun said...

Are New Labour the Russian government? Whodathunk?

Democracy is all very well, but the Russian people like Putin and his toy party. He's currently prohibited from standing for president again by the constitution, but if he did stand, he would almost certainly win the election against any conceivable alternative candidate.

I put it down to love of a 'strong man' mixed with a liberal helping of masochism. But many other countries have displayed similar madness in the recent past (Berlusconi, Bush 2004, Thatcher, Lukashenko, Chirac just for starters). It's not really our business, is it?

As for taking office before publishing any policies - Cameroon antics aside, political parties in more developed democracies use a subtler tactic (?!) of getting elected on a set of policies (or more amorphously, values) which are suddenly forgotten once in office. Examples: ID cards (UK), attacking Iraq (which party campaigned on that platform?).

In summary - glass houses & stones.