Government chief of staff appointed head of Putin coalition

Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff has been appointed acting head of a coalition launched by the prime minister.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Vyacheslav Volodin was “in charge of” the All-Russia People’s Front, which includes the ruling United Russia party.

He said it was unclear whether Volodin will remain in the post or make way for somebody else.

“Vladimir Putin will be the leader, of course,” Peskov said. “The informal leader, mind you, because the front itself has been created informally.”

Last week, Russian banking tycoon Alexander Lebedev, co-owner of Russia’s leading opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, announced that his anti-corruption group Our Capital was joining Putin’s latest initiative.

Analysts see the formation of the All-Russia People’s Front as a sign that Putin is soliciting popular support ahead of parliamentary elections in December and presidential polls early next year.

But Peskov said the group “would not replace United Russia’s election campaign headquarters.”

“It is not linked to the elections and will focus on resolving its own important issues.”

MOSCOW, May 26 (RIA Novosti)

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