In the run-up to the United Russia party primaries on May 22, the President, together with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, visited the party headquarters.
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Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, friends, colleagues,
Today, a very interesting event is taking place here at the United Russia headquarters – an event related to the party’s upcoming primaries.
These primaries are something new for this country and they give people a chance to take part in elections, to see if a political career is really for them, to get involved in elections and take part in them, to nominate themselves.
This is certainly an interesting international practice, but this is the first time we are trying it, and United Russia made the conscious choice to do so, in order to draw as many new people as possible into the party.
Mr President, around 3,000 candidates were selected during the preliminary voting. Around 2,000 of them are United Russia members, and around 1,000, making up the balance, are unaffiliated, but they sympathise with United Russia’s policies and the President’s course and would like to take part in political life.
Various events are taking place now, and debates have been held. Our colleagues are meeting, debating, learning the skills required for political competition and work, and discussing the biggest issues in our life, such as housing and utilities, transport, various taxes, corruption and a broad range of other issues of concern to the people in this vast country’s numerous regions.
We have today the unique opportunity to welcome the Russian President, United Russia’s founder, Vladimir Putin.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, friends, it really is a great pleasure to be here.
Primaries are something new for Russia, but United Russia has already held them before, it has already started making use of this instrument. True, this is the first time that such broad primaries are taking place nation-wide and according to common rules.
I hope that this will prove a good way of finding new, promising and interesting people, new politicians who will make their first steps at these upcoming primaries and will go on to work for the good of society.
We need such people. Above all, we need professionals. But this is not enough to be engaged in politics. You also have to be sincere and motivated by a genuine desire to change things for the better and to work for society’s good and for the good of every individual.
This year, the State Duma elections coincide with gubernatorial elections and elections to municipal councils and regional parliaments. Nearly half of this country’s regions will be holding these different elections at the same time. In this respect, I want to ask you all to set an example of honest competition.
Over these past years, United Russia really has become Russia’s leading political force. This is obvious, and is reflected not only in the number of seats you hold in parliament, but also in the nature of your policy. We see this in your responsible approach, your balanced policies that work for the public good, without excessive pathos and the unnecessary noise and fuss that at times screens ambitions to simply win votes without looking and planning any further. United Russia does not do this, and I hope it never will.
This kind of responsibility is also a heavy burden however, because you need to explain to people, explain with professionalism and sincerity, reach out to people, especially when it comes to taking difficult decisions that are painful, but necessary for the economy, and thus, ultimately, for the social sector too.
I hope very much that these primaries will help to reveal exactly the kind of people we need today in political and public life. I wish you success.
Let me say again, United Russia must set an example of honest and open competition, and I, as Mr Medvedev has just said, as the person who was behind this party’s founding, I wish you success. Thank you.