Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has dismissed concerns that Russians have no genuine political choice and predicted shifts in the pro-Kremlin United Russia party’s decision-making bodies.
“An ordinary citizen always has a choice,” Putin said in an interview with three federal TV channels to be broadcast late on Monday.
The premier also said the United Russia party should remain the “leading political power in the country and the State Duma,” the Russian parliament’s lower house. Abstracts from Putin’s interview were broadcast early on Monday by the Rossiya 24 TV channel.
“The office and the position is not the main thing,” Putin said. “The main thing is people’s trust… There should be no blue-eyed boys, and final decisions should not be based on personal sympathy or antipathy.”
“As for the party’s decision-making bodies,” he added “I think there will be shifts there.”
Putin spoke seven weeks before parliamentary elections scheduled for December 4. The United Russia party led by then-president Vladimir Putin won the previous parliamentary polls in 2007. International observers from the OSCE and the Council of Europe said at the time that the election was unfair and “failed to meet many OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections.”
Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have backed one another to switch roles after 2012 presidential elections. Medvedev proposed Putin for president at the United Russia congress in late September, saying he was ready to head the government in case of Putin’s victory.