Putin may take the reins of Russia’s ruling party

April 15th, 2008 - 1:17 am ICT by admin  

Moscow, April 14 (DPA) Russia’s ruling party said Monday it would create a new supra-leader post to offer outgoing President Vladimir Putin when he makes an appearance at its congress Tuesday. “To this end we will make amendments to party charter … It’s not a simple technical question, but an important political question,” news agency Interfax quoted United Russia chief Boris Gryzlov as saying.

The proposal comes closest to actualising pleas over the past year for Putin to take on the amorphous post of “National Leader” - an idea sponsored by a faction within the United Russia that also called for Putin to defy the constitution and remain a third term.

Putin has promised to serve as prime minister after his elected successor Dmitry Medvedev is sworn in on May 7.

But political analysts scoffed Monday as observers salivated over any clue to who might really hold power under such a constellation.

Gryzlov’s offer is a charade that hides deeper political rivalries among pro-Kremlin clans during the transition period, they said.

“It’s just a ritual,” analyst Vladimir Pribylovsky, with the Panorama think tank, said on United Russia’s clambake.

“A clan battle is taking place around Putin … the only importance [of the offer] is in indicating the win of one clan over the other, and it’s not even one of the most important battles,” he told DPA.

However, he admitted that taking lead of the United Russia would officially entrench Putin’s power. While unlikely, he said, it was conceivable that without this Medvedev could gain influence within the party.

Putin has traditionally kept his distance from the party, which is the brainchild of Kremlin advisors and counts almost all Russia’s regional governors and top political elite among its rank.

On Monday, the United Russia’s leadership packaged their offer as attractively as possible: it seemed with all the benefits and none of the responsibility.

It said the post tailored for Putin would unfold as a sort of supra strategic post, “additional”, “separate” and “above” any of the day-to-day management duties.

Furthermore, Putin could become party chairman without officially joining, according to party leaders.

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