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Russian centrist politicians favour united party under Putin's leadership 

Moscow, 13 October: Leader of the Fatherland movement and Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov has said he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin should lead a united centrist party, which is currently being created by Fatherland, the Unity party and possibly the All Russia movement.

Earlier on Saturday [13 October], the delegates of the third Fatherland congress adopted a decision to merge with Unity and other "creative political forces" into a united party. The decision was passed by an overwhelming majority of the delegates with one vote against and two abstentions, an Interfax correspondent reported.

The congress also nominated delegates to the second congress of the Fatherland-Unity union to be held in Moscow on 27 October.

It is assumed that All Russia will join the Fatherland-Unity alliance, as it sent a corresponding application to the union of the two political organizations on Saturday.

Speaking at the Fatherland congress on Saturday, Luzhkov urged his colleagues to set up a united party with Unity, noting that this party will become "a mass, powerful and influential political force capable of bearing responsibility for the country's fate".

Most of Russians support President Putin's policy today, but this majority consists of "people with different views", Luzhkov noted. "Only those who can organically combine interests of the left and right wings of this majority will succeed in politics," he said.

In this sense, "differences between Unity and Fatherland will only benefit us", especially as the two organizations have a common "ideological basis": freedom, democracy, social justice and market economy, the Fatherland leader said.

He also noted that a recently established union of Unity and Fatherland "has consolidated creative political forces and became a step in forming an efficient political system, in which Fatherland and Unity view themselves inseparable".

Luzhkov recalled that at the initial phase of its development, the organization led by him was favouring a radical change of the state's goals and rejecting the path chosen by "decrepit authorities".

However, the sociopolitical situation has changed these days, "disintegration and confrontation have been relieved by public accord" and a policy aimed at strengthening the state and an efficient vertical power structure, promoting economic growth, increasing people's wellbeing and combating corruption, Luzhkov said.

At the same time, "not everyone likes our stabilization", Luzhkov warned. "Look at the oligarchs, who cannot run their businesses without access to gratis state resources, look how they are fussing, how displeased they are with the current situation, how they openly declare the need to replace the president. Isn't it really a threat to our achievements, isn't it a challenge?" the Moscow mayor exclaimed.

Another danger is radical political forces, which are trying to destabilize the situation in the country, Luzhkov said, noting that Fatherland is among the political forces supporting the Russian president, "who needs such support today".

Luzhkov also suggested addressing his followers that a recess be declared in the congress so as to begin preparations for a unifying congress with Unity, which is planned for November. In addition, Luzhkov put forward an initiative not to hold regular elections of the Fatherland central council and auditing commission on Saturday, as these bodies should get down to preparing the congress with Unity.

"I look into the future with optimism, and together we will win," Luzhkov said.

Meanwhile, Unity leader Sergey Shoygu said, speaking at the same congress, that the framework of the union of his party and Fatherland constrains the solution of common tasks.

"We have come to understand that the union framework constrains our potential in solving more challenging tasks," Shoygu said.

"Only a united party can become a powerful lever in pursuing reforms and consolidating the followers of the Russian president," Shoygu said.

Shoygu also read a Unity greeting to the delegates of the Fatherland congress.

Following the first part of the congress, Luzhkov told a news conference later in the day that "it would be not only desirable but also essential in the future" for President Putin to lead a united centrist party.

Although "we are following our own path", the record of developed Western democracies shows that a country leader "is nominated by a political party, the victory of which makes him head of state".

"This does not imply levelling or standardizing something, but is a general pattern of political processes under way in the world," Luzhkov noted.

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