Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said his foreign minister and his defense minister will head the candidates’ list for the dominant United Russia party in September’s parliamentary election.
By placing Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on the list, Putin aims to increase voter enthusiasm for the party whose support has been waning.
Both Shoigu and Lavrov have substantial popularity for their firm positions on the military and challenges to the West. Being on the party list does not oblige them to take parliament seats if elected.
Notably absent from the list announced at a party convention was Dmitry Medvedev, the former president and prime minister who is United Russia’s chairman. Medvedev left the premiership in January 2020 and took the less-visible post of deputy chairman of the national security council.
Although United Russia dominates the country’s politics and is Putin’s power base, its support is dipping. A survey in April by the independent pollster Levada Center found only 42 percent of voters would vote for the party in the parliamentary election on Sept 19.