The congress participants unanimously elected Dmitry Medvedev to the post of party chairman. The vote on his candidacy, proposed by Vladimir Putin, was held in an open mode.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,
I am happy to greet all the participants of the United Russia party congress. I believe it is vital that we discuss issues that are directly related to the future of the party, as well as the entire country: the party’s place and its role in the new stage of Russia’s national development.
This stage reflects the aspirations and hopes of millions of our citizens who expect to see in Russia the highest standards of living and social wellbeing, as well as the quality of the state and the performance of its institutions.
We are ready to tackle more complex and ambitious goals. Together we have laid a foundation for the new stage. We have formed a strong political and economic basis for further change, and the United Russia party and its faction in the State Duma have made a great contribution to this, as well as all of its supporters and all Russian citizens.
Since its inception, from its very first steps, United Russia has worked to unite all the constructive forces, to rally society around the goal of our state’s reconstruction and development. This is a role United Russia confirmed during the trials of the economic downturn. As a majority party, it did not evade the problems but joined in the laborious, difficult, and sometimes absolutely routine efforts to overcome the crisis.
Concerted action by the Government, the parliamentary majority, the President and the regional authorities made it possible for us to protect the interests of the overwhelming majority of our citizens and strengthen the capacity of the state. People understand the value of such work and the importance of maintaining stability in the country, especially in the context of global turbulence.
We remained committed to a sovereign, progressive development of the state, formed a broad popular coalition based on the values of patriotism, civic consciousness, justice and a common desire to serve Russia. That is the main result of the elections and our shared success. I consider it my duty to unite all political forces and all citizens of the country around a national agenda.
I have already said that the post of President is traditionally non-partisan in our country. The President expresses and defends the interests of society, regardless of each person’s party priorities, and it is his duty to be impartial. In addition, there is a worldwide democratic practice whereby the head of government represents the ruling party and relies on its parliamentary majority in the implementation of key decisions and legislative initiatives.
Therefore, I consider it right for Dmitry Medvedev to stand at the helm of the party. Dmitry Medvedev topped the party’s list in the State Duma elections. The United Russia faction in parliament unanimously voted in favour of Dmitry Medvedev for the post of Prime Minister. Today, I ask the congress to support Mr Medvedev’s candidacy for the post of party chairman.
Colleagues, we have been working together for many years and this work must continue. I consider United Russia to be my key ally and partner, a political force that is ready to use all its capabilities to build a free, strong and prosperous country.
We also fully realise that the party must be effective and competent to be able to meet future challenges, consistent with the prominent role of the country’s political leader; it must hear and sense the needs of society, offer the best solutions to economic and social challenges, and increase citizens’ participation in government.
United Russia sets new standards of openness in political work. In the past year, United Russia’s parliamentary list was formed through a public vote prior to the involvement of civil society organisations, professional associations and members of the Russian Popular Front. It was the only political movement running for parliament to act in this way. I am convinced that we must continue this initiative in the future.
To be strong and win in the national political arena we must continue to develop democracy and competition inside the party. United Russia will remain a leader only if it learns to support everything that is good and effective in the party. Party democracy is the main competitiveness resource in the national political arena.
The revival must affect all aspects of party life. I am referring to the mechanisms of personnel selection and rotation, the organisation of public debates and interaction with civil society. Competitive selection, the institution of preliminary voting and open discussions must become the basis of the party’s personnel policy. We should consider extending these mechanisms to all areas of the party’s work. The party must effectively carry out its most important mission: to serve as a social driver for talented and competent professionals, and there are more than enough of them in your ranks.
Participation in direct elections of heads of Russia’s constituent entities will be a crucial event in the party’s life. We must place our trust in effective managers: honest, decent and caring people. The more freedom, openness and democracy there is inside the party, the stronger United Russia will become, and more capable, therefore, of strengthening and reviving the country, improving the lives of our citizens and generating dynamic development trends in the Russian regions.
At the same time, any signs of incompetence or corruption of individual state officials, members of the United Russia party, will become the basis for the toughest of party decisions. The party must not show tolerance to those who act unfairly and against the dignity of citizens.
A radical revival is a serious challenge for the party, one that will require colossal efforts, dedication and responsibility. I am convinced that the party has the potential to attain this goal, to become more dynamic and competitive.
It is clear that the level of political competition will grow in the coming years, and that is good. I think this will provide an impetus for the country’s development and increase the maturity and responsibility of our civil society. I want to emphasise that true democracy is not measured by the number of parties but by their ability to articulate clear goals, offer a realistic programme and bear full political responsibility for the execution of this programme. Popular support will be awarded to the political force whose everyday activities lead to the solution of problems facing the country, and not dummy parties used for the attainment of personal goals and ambitions.
United Russia and all of us must continue to work hard, to fulfil all our commitments, be honest with people, listen to them and respond immediately to any existing or emerging problems. It is essential to prove and confirm leadership in our daily practical work so that you remain a party that has not only parliamentary but also, most importantly, popular majority.
Colleagues, we have formulated and proposed to society an ambitious transformation strategy. Now we have serious work ahead of us. The most important stage is about to begin: we must work and produce results. We must achieve concrete results to justify the trust, hopes and expectations of millions of Russian citizens. This is the most important challenge for us all. I am confident that we will succeed – if we work hard and as a team.
I propose the candidacy of Dmitry Medvedev for the post of United Russia Chairman. Thank you very much for your attention and your cooperation.
First of all, I would like to congratulate Dmitry Medvedev on being elected Chairman of the United Russia party and to thank all the congress participants for their support.
As you know, the United Russia party was established on my initiative; I was not just the man behind its creation but I worked on it personally. The mechanism has been launched and has its own independent development logic. The newly elected Chairman’s proposal is fully in tune with the spirit of the time.
We have achieved a great deal, and we have much to offer society: the preservation of the state’s sovereignty and integrity, the fight against terrorism, the growth of incomes (in the early 2000s, the average salary was 7,000 rubles or even less, whereas last year the figure stood at 24,000), the preservation of macroeconomic indicators and a basis for future development.
However, when you visit some small or medium-sized town and see that it is not safe to get around it either by car or on foot, that some people’s wages, especially in the public sphere, are below the region’s subsistence minimum, you realise that it is very difficult to convince the people living in that place, especially if the town or the region is run by United Russia members, that we are working hard. There is a saying in the East: no matter how much you say ”halva“, the taste in your mouth will not get any sweeter. Why am I saying this? I want to urge you to work hard together for the benefit of Russia and each of its citizens.