Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 30

In another rebuff to liberals, the pro-Kremlin and KPRF factions in the State Duma voted to reject former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, a leader of the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS), and Yabloko’s Vladimir Lukin, as deputy Duma speakers (Russian agencies, February 11). Earlier this year, Unity and the KPRF, the two largest Duma factions, cut a deal in which they divided up the Duma’s main committee chairmanships between themselves, effectively freezing out SPS and Yabloko, and re-elected the KPRF’s Gennady Seleznev to the post of Duma speaker. While some members of Unity, which is distinguished mainly by its loyalty to Acting President Vladimir Putin, described this union as little more than a short-term tactical alliance, it would appear to be something more than that.

For example, Putin made statements in an interview published today which would appear to reduce even further the differences between him and his supporters, on the one hand, and the KPRF, on the other. In an interview published today in the Italian newspaper Corriere del Serra, the acting Russian president said his country needed state regulation which went beyond simple establishing and enforcing rules of the game in the economy. He repeated, however, that he did not want a return to a totalitarian system (Russian agencies, February 11). Putin and members of his team, while they have not yet unveiled their economic plan, have until now stressed that the state’s role in the economy should be restricted to establishing and enforcing a level playing field. Putin’s latest statement, however, suggests that the economic program he adopts after the March 26 presidential election might not differ substantially from the programs that have been pushed by people like Sergei Glazyev, the KPRF’s top economist.