Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday multiplied promises of financial aid to improve the daily life of Russians before the legislative elections in September, preceded by a fierce repression against the opposition and the movement of Alexei Navalny.
Read also: France condemns the Russian decision against Navalny's organizations and calls for his release
The master of the Kremlin spoke for nearly an hour in front of several hundred senior officials gathered in Moscow at the congress of the ruling United Russia party. "
The program of the leader's party must be the program of the people,
" said Vladimir Poutine, while United Russia is unpopular against a background of economic stagnation, voter fatigue and corruption cases.
In a speech interspersed with applause, the Russian president proposed to invest tens of billions of rubles in improving public transport, roads and infrastructure, renovating schools and cleaning up rivers. "
A prosperous and strong family, with children, is the future of Russia,
" he said, faithful to his defense of "
" and to his objective of fighting against the demographic decline of Russia.
As Russia faces a resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic, driven by the Delta variant and a laborious vaccination campaign, Mr Putin has also called for the launch of a program of at least 100 billion rubles (1.1 billion euros) to strengthen “
the medical convalescence system
I repeat: it is better to be vaccinated than to get sick
", he stressed, very many Russians being wary of vaccines.
The announcements come as United Russia, which controls the majority of the lower house of parliament, has seen its popular support slip in recent years.
According to the public polling institute Vtsiom, his popularity rating is around 30%, ten points less than before the legislative elections of 2016. Vladimir Putin benefits from 60 to 65% of favorable opinions.
The three parliamentary opposition parties, generally docile and supporting the Kremlin's initiatives (the Communists, the ultranationalist LDPR party and the Just Russia party) would win around 30% of the vote, according to Vtsiom.
As the election approached, the authorities stepped up attacks against their real detractors, in particular the organizations of Alexei Navalny, which were declared "
" and banned on 9 June.
Its members have also been banned from the legislative elections.
Navalny, imprisoned in January, is serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence which he received shortly after surviving a poisoning in August 2020 which he attributes to the Kremlin.
The main opponent of Putin has made a name for himself with his resounding investigations into the corruption of Russian elites, targeting in particular United Russia elected officials.
All in prison
For fear of prosecution, several of Navalny's allies have had to leave the country in recent months while the crackdown has also affected other opponents who planned to run for office and independent media.
During the legislative elections, the United Russia party will be able to count on its establishment at all levels of power.
The opposition accuses him in each election of forcing officials to vote for him.
The ballot must be held from September 17 to 19, officially to ensure optimal security against the Covid.
But critics in the Kremlin see it as a way to facilitate cheating, with observation of the vote and the ballot box for three days and two nights being very difficult.
At the congress on Saturday, Vladimir Putin demanded that the ballot express "
the true will of the people
", while the official leader of United Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, advocated a "
for an "
A straight fight and an honest victory, hello?"
You have put all the opponents in prison,
”reacted on Twitter Georgi Albourov, a close friend of Alexeï Navalny.
Navalny supporters still hope to promote a "
," calling for votes for any party that can beat United Russia.
A tactic which has already had some success in local elections but which could be undermined by the liquidation of the opponent's movement.