United Russia: Ruling Party (Part II)

Photo source: https://www.1obl.ru/news/politika/sezd-partii-2017/

Vladimir Putin speaks at the
United Russia Party Covention in November, 2009. Although he is the party leader, he is not a member. Photo from UPI.com

(Continued from Part I)

After this, many independents flocked to join the party over the next year, despite Unity having no concrete policy agenda besides support for the war in Chechnya and for President Yeltsin. Many members of Fatherland-All Russia also defected to Unity. In April 2001, Fatherland-All Russia and Unity issued a joint declaration stating that the two parties intended to merge. By December 2001, the merger was official and the alliance was named the All-Russian Party of Unity and Fatherland, or United Russia for short.

Other figures in leadership of the Unity Party have gone on to leadership positions in United Russia and/or the Russian government. For example, Sergei Shoigu, was the first head of the Unity Party. A career bureaucrat and high-ranking military man, Shoigu now heads Russia’s very publically visible Ministry of Emergency Situations. He is publically well-known as a hands-on manager and close ally of Vladimir Putin. Boris Gryzlov, who has served as Duma Speaker since 2003, was head of the St. Petersburg regional branch of Unity and later the party’s lead Duma representative. He is also, as Chairman of the Supreme Council, the second-highest-ranking United Russia official behind Putin.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, while maintaining and in many ways expanding his powerful position after joining United Russia, has always been seen as somewhat at odds with the federal government and Vladmir Putin. Often asking enormous sums from the federal budget for infrastructure projects, often refusing to the toe the party line, and very often accused large-scale corruption, Luzhkov eventually “lost the confidence of” President Medvedev. Most analysts traced this to Luzhkov’s public statement that he would prefer a return of Putin to the presidency rather than a second term for Medvedev. Shortly after this comment, a smear campaign against him was launched on several government-controlled television stations and Luzhkov was relived of position by presidential decree in later September, 2010.

United Russia enjoyed considerable public support while the Russian economy prospered during the first part of the 2000s and President Putin’s approval ratings remained high throughout his term as president. After Putin served two terms as president, he was constitutionally obliged to step down. In April 2008, he became United Russia’s chairman, although he made it clear that this did not mean he was going to become a member – and he has never joined the party. In May, Putin assumed the post of Prime Minister under President Dmitry Medvedev, who ran with the support of Putin, United Russia, and other political parties, but who has also declined to become an official member of any party.

(Continued in Part III)

Part I Part II Part III
Партия «ЕДИНАЯ РОССИЯ» ставит в центр своей политики качество жизни российского гражданина. Россия должна стать процветающей, комфортной для жизни страной. United Russia’s policies are centered on improving the quality of life for Russian citizens. Russia must become a prosperous nation offering comfortable lives.
В основе Программного документа Партии «ЕДИНАЯ РОССИЯ» – обращение Президента России Д. А. Медведева «Россия, вперед!». Наши усилия будут сосредоточены на преодолении тех социальных недугов, которые сковывают творческую энергию страны, не дают раскрыться ее огромному потенциалу: The basis of the United Russia Party’s political platform is an appeal by Dmitry A. Medvedev, the President of Russia—“Russia, Foreword!”[8] Our efforts will concentrate on overcoming those social ailments which shackle the creative energy of the country, preventing it from realizing its enormous potential. These include:
  • экономическая отсталость, привычка существовать за счет экспорта сырья, фактически выменивая его на готовые изделия;
  • Economic backwardness – an addiction to surviving off exporting raw materials, practically bartering them for finished goods;
  • коррупция, с незапамятных времен истощавшая Россию;
  • Corruption – from time immemorial it has weakened Russia;
  • широко распространенные в обществе патерналистские настроения, уверенность в том, что все проблемы должно решать государство.
  • Widespread paternalistic beliefs in our society – the certainty that all problems must be solved by the state.
Здоровое общество, растущая нация A Healthy Society, A Growing Nation
Достижение важнейшей цели нашей Стратегии – увеличение средней продолжительности жизни до 75 лет к 2020 году – напрямую зависит от изменения образа жизни россиян. Achieving an important goal of our Strategy – extending life expectancy to 75 years by the year 2020 – is directly dependent upon changing Russian lifestyles.
«ЕДИНАЯ РОССИЯ» будет содействовать: United Russia will promote:
  • системной профилактической работе по противодействию распространению алкоголизма, табакокурения и наркомании;
  • Systematic prevention of the spread of alcoholism, smoking, and drug addiction;
  • развитию инфраструктуры для массовых занятий физической культурой и спортом представителей всех возрастных групп, включая дальнейшее строительство физкультурно-оздоровительных комплексов и реализацию инициативы по строительству 500 бассейнов в российских вузах.
  • The development of infrastructure for public physical education and sport for all age groups. This includes continued construction of sports clubs and spas realizing our plans for the construction of 500 swimming pools in Russian universities.
Защищая жизнь и здоровье человека, Партия считает необходимым содействовать инновационному развитию отечественной медицинской и фармацевтической индустрии; увеличивать финансирование здравоохранения; развивать в отрасли конкуренцию; обеспечивать защиту прав пациентов, создавая реальные механизмы ответственности врачей и лечебных учреждений за качество лечения; совершенствовать систему гарантированного лекарственного обеспечения граждан. To protect human life and health, the Party considers it necessary to promote innovative development of our domestic medical and pharmaceutical industries – we must boost financing for public health, develop competition in the field, protect patients’ rights by creating real mechanisms to hold doctors and healthcare providers accountable for the quality of their services, and to improve our system of guaranteed healthcare for our citizens.[9]
Средний класс, социальное партнерство, единство поколений The Middle Class, Social Partnership, and the Generational Solidarity
«ЕДИНАЯ РОССИЯ», выступая за формирование сильного среднего класса как основы общественной стабильности, будет добиваться сокращения социального неравенства, снижения разрыва в доходах различных групп населения. К 2020 году доля среднего класса должна составить не менее 60% населения. Это ключевой ориентир и цель нашей политики. United Russia supports the formation of a strong middle class as a basis for social stability. We will reduce social inequalities, lowering the income disparity between various demographic groups. By 2020, the middle class must make up no less than 60% of the population. This is a key guideline and goal for our policies.
Опыт XX века уже показал, сколь опасно пренебрежение идеями социального партнерства, интересами миллионов граждан – тех, кто составляет основу общества. Фундаментом реализации социальных гарантий должно стать развитие трехстороннего диалога государства, профсоюзов и работодателей. The experience of the twentieth century has already shown how dangerous neglecting the idea of social partnership – and the interests of the millions of citizens who form the basis of society – can be. The development of trilateral dialogue between the state, trade unions, and the employer must become the foundation for implementing social guarantees.[10]
Забота о старшем поколении – это прежде всего создание достойных условий его жизни. Это – первостепенный долг общества, обязанность государства. К 2020 году средний размер трудовой пенсии составит не менее трех прожиточных минимумов пенсионера. А для граждан, в полной мере участвующих в пенсионной реформе, размер пенсии достигнет в перспективе 40% от заработка, с которого уплачиваются взносы. Caring for our senior citizens is first of all creating adequate living conditions for them. This is the paramount duty of society and the obligation of the state. By 2020 standard pensions should equal no less than three times the living wage of a pensioner.[11] For those citizens contributing in full to the pension reform, future pensions will reach 40% of earnings on which contributions have been paid.[12]
Важнейшим направлением дальнейшей работы Партия считает повышение эффективности и адресности социальной помощи. Защита наиболее уязвимых категорий – прежде всего граждан с ограниченными возможностями, работающих матерей – требует особого внимания. The Party considers raising the efficiency and improving the targeting of social aid an important direction for further work. Protecting the most vulnerable categories, especially the disabled and working mothers, requires special attention.
Способствуя развитию среднего класса, Партия будет строить свою работу так, чтобы защитить и поддержать предпринимателей, обеспечить им необходимое внимание со стороны органов власти и местного самоуправления, благоприятный настрой со стороны общества. In promoting the development of the middle class, the Party work to defend and support entrepreneurs, to provide them the attention they need from the authorities and local self-government, and public support.
Молодежь России: ее успех – успех страны Russia’s Youth: Their Success is the Nation’s Success
Патриотизм, здоровый образ жизни, крепкая семья, профессионализм – эти фундаментальные ценности становятся главными для все большего числа молодых людей. Patriotism, a healthy lifestyle, strong families, and professionalism – these fundamental values being adopted by an ever larger number young people.
Наша задача остается неизменной – создавать условия для их самореализации через совершенствование программ кадровой политики, создание рабочих мест, поддержку молодых семей, выравнивание стартовых возможностей для развития личности. Our goal will be unchanged – to create conditions for their self-improvement through personnel policies, job creation, support for young families, and giving each person a level playing field to start their personal development.
Наша задача – сделать так, чтобы у молодых сограждан не возникало желания во что бы то ни стало уехать жить за границу, а наоборот, чтобы свое будущее они связывали с Россией. Our task is creating conditions so that our young fellow-citizens do not desire to leave Russia and instead see their futures tied to Russia.
Качественное образование для каждого Quality Education for All
Мы выступаем за максимальное сближение сфер культуры, образования и науки, преодоление их искусственного разрыва, дальнейшее повышение эффективности системы образования. «ЕДИНАЯ РОССИЯ» выступает за сохранение и развитие лучших традиций отечественного образования, основанных на раскрытии способностей личности. Процесс обучения не должен ограничиваться автоматическим заучиванием формул и правил. Задачу образования мы видим в том, чтобы научить мыслить и применять полученные знания на практике. Этому должны способствовать новые стандарты образования. С этих же позиций следует рассматривать и Единый государственный экзамен, призванный стать реальной и адекватной оценкой знаний и навыков каждого конкретного выпускника. We support maximizing collaboration between the cultural, educational and scientific spheres, bridging the artificial divide them, further enhancing the efficiency of the education system. United Russia stands for the preservation and development of the best traditions of national education, based on expanding an individual’s skills. Instruction must not be limited to rote memorization of formulas and rules. We believe the goal of education is to teach how to think and apply knowledge practically. This must be implemented in new standards for education. The Unified State Examination, designed to become a real and adequate assessment of knowledge and skills of each individual graduate, should be judged by this criteria.
Важным условием повышения качества образования Партия считает достойное финансирование образования, создание условий для роста авторитета профессии педагога, учителя. The Party believes that important preconditions for improving the quality of education include proper financing of education and creating conditions for the growth of the prestige of the teaching profession and the teacher.
Конкурентоспособные образовательные программы, в том числе направленные на рост финансовой и юридической грамотности населения, внедрение новых систем оценки качества образования, развитие системы непрерывного образования, целевая поддержка элементов инновационной структуры в вузах и оснащение профессиональных учебных заведений самым современным оборудованием – базовые принципы образовательной политики «ЕДИНОЙ РОССИИ». The basic foundation of United Russia’s educational policies consists of: competitive educational programs, including those aimed at improving the financial and legal literacy of the populace; adopting a new system to evaluate educational quality; developing a system of continuing education; dedicated structural support for innovative higher education by outfitting professional educational institutions with the most modern equipment.
Российская наука: знания на благо Отечества Russian Science: Knowledge for the Benefit of the Motherland
Сохранение и развитие лучших традиций российской науки и инженерной школы, создание достойных условий для осуществления в России научной деятельности, поддержку молодых и талантливых ученых Партия рассматривает в качестве важнейших условий технологического прорыва и формирования инновационной экономики. Preserving and developing further the best traditions of Russian science and engineering schools, creating the conditions that scientific work needs in Russia, and supporting young and talented scientists. These are the significant conditions, the Party believes, to achieving technological breakthroughs and forming an innovative economy.
К 2020 году нам предстоит в разы увеличить долю инновационной промышленной продукции. Достижение данной цели усилиями только государства невозможно. Важнейшей задачей является стимулирование внебюджетных инвестиций в инновации и их коммерческое использование. В этом мы видим патриотический долг и стратегическую инициативу отечественного бизнеса. By 2020, we must increase several times over the share innovative industrial products. Achieving this goal solely through the efforts of the state is not possible. A more important task is to encourage non-state investments into innovative technologies and their commercial applications. We see this as the patriotic duty and strategic initiative of domestic business.
Part I Part II Part III
[8] This document is sometimes translated as “Go, Russia!” It is largely focused on creating an innovation economy and the modernization of Russian political institutions and infrastructure.

[9] This refers to Russia’s system of state-run clinics, which are supposed to free to all citizens, but which are in fact, not.

[10] This trilateral dialogue has always been the foundation of Russia’s labor code. While always been part of the code, the implementation of the concept has not always been consistent or effective.

[11] Currently, the average official government-calculated living wage – which varies based on location – is about $150 month. Most outside the government agree that this is a ridiculously low figure – even $450 is likely not a figure that most could live on. The average Russian spends more than a $100 in utilities per month alone.

[12] Most Russians do not claim their full income for tax or other official purposes. Most have part of their salary paid officially and part in cash in an envelope.

About the Author

Josh Wilson

Josh has been with SRAS since 2003. He holds an M.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in History from Idaho State University, where his masters thesis was written on the political economy of Soviet-era censorship organs affecting the stage. He lived in Moscow from 2003-2022, where he ran Moscow operations for SRAS. At SRAS, Josh still assists in program development and leads our internship programs. He is also the editor-in-chief for the SRAS newsletter, the SRAS Family of Sites, and Vestnik. He has previously served as Communications Director to Bellerage Alinga and has served as a consultant or translator to several businesses and organizations with interests in Russia.

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Amy Stidger

Amy Stidger holds a B.A. in History with a minor in Russian from the University of Texas at Arlington. She attended SRAS's Translate Abroad Program in spring of 2010.

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Erin Decker

Erin Decker holds a BA in Political Science and International Studies (Global Security) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing SRAS’s Translate Abroad program in 2009, she went on to find employment as a translator and editor in Moscow and has lived there since.

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