MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti) – United Russia has managed to overturn the popular conception that it is the “party of crooks and thieves,” a senior ruling party official said on Friday.
“You helped us a great deal in getting rid of the tag that our political opponents hung on us,” Vladimir Vasilev, head of United Russia’s parliamentary faction, said at an event in honor of Russia’s state prosecutor.
Vasilev said a Duma campaign, run in cooperation with the powerful Investigative Committee and the state prosecutor to clarify and make transparent the incomes and business interests of lawmakers, had been instrumental in what he said was the reversal of the party’s image.
“Who remembers the 'party of crooks and thieves?'” he asked.
United Russia’s unflattering and widely-used nickname was coined by anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny in a radio interview in early 2011. Opinion polls conducted in 2012 showed on more than one occasion that around 35 percent of Russians considered the tag an accurate reflection of the party’s activities.
Vasilev did not explain why he believed the party was no longer known by the name.
Navalny responded to the news by asking for suggestions for a new nickname for the party.
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The formation of the Russian Popular Front (RPF) could be a positive development in Russian politics. While it is clear that Russia still lacks a full-fledged multiparty system, the fact is that such systems are in crisis elsewhere in the world. Traditional political parties are growing increasingly inadequate and outmoded. Their time has passed.