One of the stranger parentheses in President Medevev’s ‘disappointing’ press conference yesterday was his sudden announcement that Sergei Mironov, the head of the Federation Council and founder of pro-Kremlin opposition party a Just Russia has been dismissed. This titbit may in fact have been the closest to anything the President was willing to divulge about the upcoming elections, which remain a matter of whispers and nudges. Over to Brian Whitmore to decrypt the latest development:
Back in 2009, Mironov supported a plan, floated by Deputy Kremlin Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov and hotly opposed by United Russia, to establish a tightly controlled multi-party system similar to the ones that existed in some Soviet satellites like Communist-era Czechoslovakia and East Germany.
State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, a leading member of United Russia, vocally fought the idea — which would reduce the party’s clout — and it seemed to lose traction.
But given the events of the past week or so, it might just be poised to make a comeback.
Billionaire oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov’s decisionto head up the Kremlin-friendly center-right “opposition” party RightCause could — possibly — turn them into a player and get them into thenext Duma.
Mironov’s expulsion could — conceivably — boost his stature as anoutsider fighting the system (as contrived as that is) among disaffectedvoters on the left. This would boost A Just Russia’s chances to make itback into the Duma in December without the taint of being a Kremlinlackey.
If both A Just Russia and Right Cause make it into parliament they willprovide a convenient left and right flank to a still-dominant UnitedRussia (with the Communists and the Liberal Democrats occupying the leftand right extremes). And then — voila! — Surkov’s tightly controlledfake multiparty system is a reality.
Read the whole article here.