Putin to meet with ‘front’ activists on Wednesday

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet with “people’s front” activists on Wednesday and Thursday, his press secretary said.

Putin called for the creation of the All-Russia People’s Front at a conference of the ruling United Russia party on Friday to broaden the party’s electoral base with “non-party people,” including trade unions, NGOs, business associations and youth groups. He followed that up on Saturday by meeting with business, labor and civic leaders at his official Novo-Ogaryovo residence.

Dmitry Peskov said the Wednesday meeting will be an “informal affair” and it will continue on Thursday “with a certain agenda.”

The prime minister’s spokesman said Putin’s idea has been generating considerable attention with “a flow of applications to join such an association” coming in to United Russia, the government press service, and Putin’s website.

“We are hearing critics, hearing pessimists, but the massive influx of applications shows that… the front idea is highly relevant and has a good future,” Peskov said.

Analysts see Putin’s move as a bid to boost his United Russia party’s flagging popularity and head off a potentially damaging poor showing in upcoming parliamentary elections.

At the meeting on Saturday, Putin said United Russia needs “an inflow of new ideas, new proposals, and new faces” ahead of the December elections to the State Duma, parliament’s lower house.

MOSCOW, May 10 (RIA Novosti)

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