9 United Russia members defect to Just Russia Party

MOSCOW, August 19 (Itar-Tass) — Nine members of the United Russia Party in Smolensk joined the Opposition Just Russia Party. Deputy chairman of the Smolensk regional legislature Nikolai Martynov, regional legislature deputies Alexei Kazakov, Smolensk Town Council deputies Ilya Lazarenkov, Sergei Lebedev, Vladimir Vinogradov, Galina Zhuravkova, and Mikhail Atroshchenko and head of the Talashinskoye rural settlement Sergei Esalnek and his deputy Igor Andreyev announced that they are quitting United Russia.

Just Russia has already named it “the Smolensk Breakthrough” Lawmaker at the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament Alexander Chetverikov told reporters the issue of joining Just Russia was discussed with other deputies of the Smolensk regional legislature and regional politicians. “This process is under control of Just Russia’s regional branch and its head Oksana Laberko,” Chetverikov said.

“Unlike our opponents, we’re not trying to drag everybody into our ranks at any cost. It is important for us to know to what extent these people share the Party’s’ ideology, how honest they are, how sincere their intentions are, whether they are professional and ready for real work for the good of fellow citizens,” the Just Russia representative said.

Meanwhile, Just Russia earlier expelled five State Duma lawmakers who had joined the All Russia People’s Front. They are deputy speaker Alexander Babakov, former lawmaker Yelena Vtorygina, who had handed over her mandate to Party leader Sergei Mironov, deputy head of the house committee for nationalities Mikhail Starshinov and lawmaker Vlasily Shestakov, as well as deputy chairman of the house committee for protection of health Elmira Glubokovskaya. Also, four deputhyies of a town council in the Kranodard territory joined United Russia.

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