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Russia's Putin tries to give ruling party a pre-election boost with spending promises

Economic IndicatorsJun 19, 2021 10:21AM ET
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© Reuters. Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience during the annual congress of the United Russia party in Moscow, Russia June 19, 2021. Sputnik/Sergei Karpukhin/Pool via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin sought on Saturday to give Russia's ruling party a pre-election boost by promising to spend big on infrastructure, education and health.

Putin, 68, also announced his key allies, the defence and foreign ministers, would front the campaign for the ruling United Russia party for September's parliamentary elections.

The jailed Alexei Navalny, Putin's most prominent domestic critic, and his allies, are barred from the elections after they were declared "extremists".

Speaking at its party congress, Putin praised United Russia for its "ability to renew and constantly develop".

With real wages falling and inflation rising, its ratings are at a multi-year low, according to a poll by the Levada Center, an independent pollster. It showed just 27% of Russians supported the party in March, down from 31% in August.

Putin proposed Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and top diplomat Sergei Lavrov to head the list of party candidates at the elections.

"I'm sure that United Russia sets the highest bar for itself, which is to confirm its leadership position and to clinch a win at the elections," he said.

Putin did not name Dmitry Medvedev, the party leader and former president and prime minister, among the top candidates. Opinion polls have shown Medvedev has a low popularity rating.

Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Lavrov and Shoigu were the most popular ministers.

"It's enough to show those two guys to the population, and it's obvious that this is Putin's party," he said.

Putin proposed extending an infrastructure loans programme until 2026 and a 100 billion roubles ($1.4 billion) pandemic recovery programme.

"People's well-being is of the highest value," he said.

He also pledged more funds for road construction and reiterated his support for a ban on exports of some kinds of timber from Jan 1. 2022.

Putin helped found the United Russia party 20 years ago, but has never been a member.

Russia's Putin tries to give ruling party a pre-election boost with spending promises
 

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Ad Cline Jun 19, 2021 1:56PM ET
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investment by the Russian government in its own country has always been dismal. the needs of the people have never come first. Russia has one of the worst transportation systems in Europe.healthcare was better under the old communist system. education is suffering through lack of funding by the state. Putin and his government have been more interested in spending Russia's limited income on bullying the world, than diversifying the Russian economy and building a modern Russia. cronyism is rampit through out the system. Putin has entrenched so many incompetent players in the system it will take years for him to make the changes. knowing his kgb background, it is probably another ploy to stay in power. with the massive corruption and incompetence of his administration he is becoming a political "problem" for the elites. he better a have a plan on paper, or he is in danger of being "removed".
 
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