The coalition, the government, the party
After failing the attempt to become the presidential candidate for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (December 2003), Gennady Semigin, a member of the Communist Party Central Committee and the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the People's Patriotic Union of Russia (PPAR), said with respect to preparations to convene the Congress of Russian Patriots that a broad left coalition should be created.
On March 20, 2004 Semigin held the Congress of Russian Patriots in Moscow where representatives and observers from 16 small parties and 60 public organizations declared their intention for a merger to be achieved in stages. It was decided to hold a Congress of the Patriotic Coalition in both September and October 2004, and in December to form an electoral bloc for the 2007 elections. To be specific, the following representatives took part in the Congress:
- Levon Chakhmakhchyan of the Party of Workers' Self-Government (PST);
- Valery Hartung of the Russian Pensioners Party;
- Gennady Seleznyov of the Party of Russian Rebirth;
- Sergey Khramov of the Russian Labor Party;
- Sergeу Glazyev of the Movement "For a Decent Life";
- Ivan Grachev of the "Development of Entrepreneurship" Party;
- Abdul-Wahed Niyazov of the Eurasian Party - Union of Patriots of Russia;
- Vyacheslav Igrunov of the "Union of People for Education and Science" (SLON) Party;
- Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party opposition wing.
G.Semigin was elected the coordinator of the coalition's organizing committee.
On April 9, 2004, Semigin announced the creation of the coalition on the basis of parties and associations, which took part in the Congress March for "The Patriots of Russia" Movement, with a view to converting this into a party. He was expelled from the Communist Party for this on May 18, 2004.
On October 30 2004, the "Patriots of Russia" Coalition was established with 10 parties. At the same time, the Coordination Council was formed where G. Semigin became Chairman. In January 2005, the coalition signed a cooperation agreement with the People's Party of Russia, and in February 2005, it signed another with the "Narodnaya Volya".
On March 10, 2005 a presentation of the "People of the Russian Government" was made, as formed by the "Patriots of Russia" coalition and its allies. The structure of the shadow cabinet included 22 ministers and 4 heads of committees (including 11 current deputies of the State Duma), including:
- Gennady Semigin - Chairman of the People's Government;
- Sergei Glazyev - Minister of Finance;
- Sergei Baburin - Minister for CIS Affairs;
- Gennady Gudkov - Minister of Internal Affairs and Security;
- Elena Drapeko - Minister of Culture;
- General Igor Rodionov - Minister of Defense;
- Oksana Dmitrieva - Minister of Social Protection;
- Heart surgeon Rinat Akchurin - Minister of Health;
- Magomed Tolboev - Minister of Emergency Situations;
- Academic Robert Nigmatulin - Minister of Science and New Technologies;
- Valery Hartung - Chairman of the National Pension Fund;
- Viktor Alksnis - Chairman of the People's Committee on Migration Policy and Relations with Compatriots.
The "People's Government" held meetings and put forward bills that almost passed unperceived except for in the newspapers and magazines controlled by G. Semigin ("Rodnaya Gazeta", "Political Journal", etc.), as well as the "Novaya Gazeta".
On April 20 2005, by virtue of the agreement between G. Semigin and Sergei Khramov, the leader of the Russian Party of Labor, the party held a congress, which renamed the RPT as the "Patriots of Russia" Party. This was joined by a number of parties that had lost membership and had been denied registration.
In December 2006, thanks to a three-way alliance (with the adoption in Baburin faction of first several new members, then a few more, and a subsequent change of leadership), G. Semigin took control of the smallest fraction with the longest name: the People's Patriotic Union Fatherland National Revival Party People's Will - United Socialist Party of Russia. He replaced Sergei Baburin as its chairman and lengthened its name by two more words [in Russian] - Patriots of Russia. In February 2007, all deputies representing "Narodnaya Volya" and SEPR parties left the faction, but up until the end of the convocation it continued to bear the name including the names of these parties. By the end of the Duma it consisted of 11 deputies, 10 of whom went to the 2007 elections on the "Patriots of Russia" candidates lists.
2005-2007 Regional elections
From 2005 - the first half of 2007. The party participated in regional legislature elections 26 times, attracting local popular politicians. Sometimes it did so successfully. By the 2007 Duma elections, the "Patriots of Russia" faction operated in the People's Assembly of Dagestan, the AP Orenburg Region and the Kaliningrad Regional Duma. In addition, in 2005 Vladimir Aladi, Deputy for the AP Ulyanovsk Region for the 1999-2003 and 2003-2007 convocations and the Second Secretary of the Regional Committee of the Communist Party from 1996-2004, headed the regional branch of the "Patriots of Russia".
In September 2007, G. Semigin proposed an alliance with Dmitry Rogozin, the former leader of the "Rodina" Party, along with those of his supporters who did not join the "Fair Russia" party for ideological reasons and had joined S. Baburin's People's Union for personal reasons. Tripartite agreement on the creation of the Rodina Coalition. Signed by Semigin of Patriots of Russia, Rogozin's ally Andrei Saveliev (the Chairman of the "Great Russia" Party organizing committee, who had had no time to register) and Gennady Seleznev, leader of the Revival of Russia Party.
The VII Party Congress held on September 24, 2007 put forward a federal list, which included G.Semigin, Seleznyov and nine current State Duma deputies, including Andrew and Yury Savelyev, Alexander Krutov, Victor and Vladimir Cherenkov Semago from United Russia.
The Party put forward the slogan, "Property, income and power - the people" and "Russia - №1 country!" The Party's election campaign consisted mostly of Gennady Semigin's speeches in which he informed the public about the economic measures developed by himself and the People's Government, which would quickly and dramatically increase the well-being of all. Also participating in debate with opponents was Nadezhda Korneeva, the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Party, and Yuri Savelyev, who spoke about the program of nationalizing 75% of businesses.
At the end of the campaign, Andrei Saveliev, the leader of the Great Russia Party, became disillusioned with the party and published on his LiveJournal account the slogan: "RUSSIANS! DO NOT TAKE PART IN THE ELECTION! TODAY IS THE DAY WHEN THEY MERELY CHOOSE BETWEEN YOUR ENEMIES TO RULE." He explained this as follows: "During the whole election campaign, the Patriots of Russia showed nothing Russian. (...) Consider that we did not take part in the debates or the planning of the campaign. The campaign was completely worthless. All of our proposals were initially taken, but none were implemented."
The result of the elections - 615,417 votes (0.89%).
On December 6, the DSP Party made a strong statement on the election results, accusing the authorities of the use of administrative resources, inequality of media opportunities, manipulation of absentee ballots, etc. "We don't recognize the results of the State Duma elections as legal, democratic, or ultimately legitimate," they said in a statement. "We know the real result (...) is a few million votes".
In the regional elections of December 2, 2007 Patriots of Russia registered lists for three out of nine regions, and in Kamchatka, one of these regions, the party won 7.38% of the vote and gained two deputies in the Regional Legislative Assembly. The Electoral Committee rejected the signatures nominating Vladimir Aladin (Ulyanovsk region) for a new term.
On December 12, 2007, it was reported on the party's website that a party congress would be held between the 18th and 22nd of December (at the end of the period allotted by law for the presidential nomination of candidates) where "an unexpected decision could be made." Subsequently, no information about the affairs of the Congress was reported.
While the Duma elections were underway, the Patriots of Russia Party was joined by the membership of the Party of Russian Revival (PVR) lead by Gennady Seleznev, and in November 2008, by the Party of Peace and Unity lead by Saja Umalatova.
The Russian Rebirth Party made Gennady Seleznev Chairman of the State Duma III convocation. After he was expelled from the Communist Party in May 2002 for refusing to leave the post in solidarity with the Communists and was removed as Chairman of the Duma Committee. The TAP was created by Seleznev in July 2000 (with Gennady Zyuganov's disapproval) as part of a center-left movement "Russia". The founding congress of the TAP was held on September 7, 2002. The attempt to involve party assets and government workers from the Russia Party, founded by the late Svyatoslav Fedorov, co-founder of the "Russian" movement, was not successful.
TAP participated in the 2003 parliamentary elections in a bloc ("The Two Speakers Bloc") with Federation Councilor Sergei Mironov of the "Russian Party of Life". The bloc won 1.14 million votes at the elections. (1.88%, 9th place). Seleznyov was elected to the State Duma of the IV convocation for single-mandate constituency №209 in St. Petersburg. Two more of the bloc's candidates made it into the Duma: Valentine Savostyanova (for the "Motherland" faction) and Anton Bakov (initially in "United Russia" faction and later elected to the ATP).
There was a TAP deputy in the Sverdlovsk regional Duma, elected under the proportional system in March 2004 (6.76%). On December 26, 2004 the bloc of supporters of Governor Alexey Lebed formed by part of the Russian Rebirth Party and the Free Russia Party got eight deputies into the Supreme Council of Khakassia.
The IV Congress of the Russian Rebirth Party was held in Moscow on January 26, 2007, where the party was renamed "Patriotic Forces for the Motherland". Gennady Seleznev and the head of the Russian Union of Afghan Veterans, Vladimir Kostyuchenko were elected as Co-Chairs. However, the Federal Registration Service did not recognize neither the Congress results nor the decisions it adopted. The reason - the congress was convened 4 years and 4 months after the previous one, the III Congress. According to the law, the term of the governing bodies of a party may not exceed four years and therefore no one was authorized to convene the congress. Thus on September 7, 2006 according to the Federal authorities there were no legitimate leaders. As a result, the Party was paralyzed for the March and December 2007 regional Duma elections: its new name and new leaders were not recognized by the FRS, and, since the mandate of the old leadership expired in September 2006, it could not convene a new Congress. The FRS included the official lists of potential participants in the March and December elections, but this was a mere formality.
On September 24, 2007 Seleznev was included in the top three places of the Patriots of Russia Party list for the December State Duma elections. To do this, he had to announce the disengagement from the TAP, which was headed by Georgi Pryakhin. On September 25, 2007, by decision of the Russian Central Election Commission, the PVR was included (in the singular) in the list of parties not eligible for free airtime for the 2007 elections although it hadn't paid for 2003 broadcasts. The party had planned a pre-election congress for August 29, but, convinced of the impossibility of proving its legitimacy to FRS, it did not go on to convene this.
On December 15, 2007, in response to an appeal by George Pryakhina, the Chairman of the Political Council of the TAP, the Presidium of the Political Council of the Party of Social Justice (CAP) decided to hold a mass reception for PSS, seeking to join TAC's membership and to establish CAP offices in the regions where they didn't already exist on the basis of ISD offices. However, in autumn of 2008, CAP disbanded to adhere to the Fair Russia Party.
On September 9, 2008, TAP was banned participation in the elections for 5-year term by the Upper Court of Justice of the Russian Federation. Gennady Seleznev invited ex-party members to participate in the political activities of the Russia Movement and the Patriots of Russia Party, but before long he went into banking. The fate of the rest of the PVR leaders and activists is difficult to ascertain because none of these had sought media attention.
The Party of Peace and Unity (PME, and later - the Russian Party of Peace and Unity, RPME) was established by the former deputy of the USSR Sagy Umalatova in December 1996. Sagy Umalatova became famous in the autumn of 1990 by demanding the resignation of Soviet President Gorbachev from the Congress of People's Deputies. On March 17, 1992 she became Chairman of the Permanent Presidium of the Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR elected not accepting the elimination of the deputies from Voronovo village near Moscow from the Congress of the Union. In November 1994, Umalatova created a political organization, the Union of Popular Resistance, and in the December 17, 1995 election, she led the electoral bloc "Our Future", which failed to collect 200,000 signatures for the federal list, but participated (unsuccessfully) in elections for three single-member districts. On April 24, 1998, PME was registered and it participated in the 1999 Duma elections, gaining 0.37% of the vote. In the fall of 2000, party structures were created to support the movement of the Russian President Policy (as recorded in November 2001). Around the same time, Sagy Umalatova recognized the Russian Federation and ceased to position herself as the temporary head of the Soviet Union. In the December 7, 2003, Duma elections, the party won 0.25% of the vote. It successfully passed the Federal Registration Service test in 2006, proving that it has 57,257 people in its ranks.
The RPME has participated in regional elections under the proportional system twice as part of blocs. On December 7, 2003, the bloc formed by PME and EIF under the name "Communists" scored 4.39% of the vote in the Ulyanovsk region. On March 14, 2004, the bloc with the PPR faction "Rus", named "In Support of the President - for the Development of the Region" entered Kraysovet in the Altai Territory, gaining 19.21% of the vote and winning eight seats.
In RPME's 2007 pre-election congress, the keynote speakers mentioned the requirement of a third term for Putin. The RPME list was not registered due to not meeting the standards because of mistakes in the signature lists. At the joint meeting of the Political Party for Peace Unity and the Movement to Support the Policy of the President of the Russian Federation held on December 18, 2007, it was unanimously decided to support the candidacy of Dmitry Medvedev for the post of presidential candidate.
In March 2008, the party put forward a list for the regional elections in the Amur Region, and in October 2008, it put forward another in Chechnya with the respective results of 1.15% and 0.29% of the vote.
On November 22, 2008, the final RPME Congress decided to merge with the Patriots of Russia Party. The following day, the VIII Congress of the Patriots of Russia Party approved the decision. At the Congress, Sagy Umalatova, Ivan Shashviashvili and Nicholas Vasilihin were co-opted into the Central Political Council of the Patriots. Additionally, a coordinating political council was set up on a parity basis (5 + 5). However, Umalatova, Shashviashvili and Vasilihin did not cooperate well with Semigin, and soon left leading positions in the party. The RPME website (www.patriotparty.ru) still operates and invites viewers to join the party.
2008-2011 regional elections
From spring 2008 to spring 2011, the Patriots of Russia Party took place in five campaigns for regional legislative assemblies, while in 17 they did not manage to do so.
In the March 2008 elections, the party didn't put forward lists under the proportional system. Oleg Mozenkov from a single-mandate constituency in the Ivanovo regional Duma was elected Chairman of the Regional Committee of Regions, and in the autumn he joined the United Russia faction.
In October 2008, the party presented a list for the Yaroslavl regional Duma and another for the Chechen parliament.
In March 2009, the Patriots put forward lists in Karachay-Cherkessia (elected), Khakassia (elected) and the Volgograd region (not elected).
In October 2009, the party participated in all three campaigns (Mari El, Tula region, Moscow) and did not win.
In March 2010, the party lost the proportional representation elections in the Kaluga and Ryazan Regions, as well as in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.
In October 2010, it lost in the regions of Belgorod, Magadan, Novosibirsk and Chelyabinsk and in Tuva.
In March 2011, it returned deputies to the parliament of Dagestan (8.39%) and the Kaliningrad regional Duma (8.49%) while losing in the Orenburg region, the Komi Republic, the Kursk region, and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area where it previously had representation.
Of the three regions, where the party won representation in the 2007 Duma elections, (Kaliningrad, Dagestan, and Orenburg), one of these was lost in the December 2011 elections, this being the Orenburg region. It acquired new representation in four regions: Kamchatka (2 MPs), Yaroslavl (2), Karachaevo-Cherkessia (4) and Khakassia (3). In Dagestan, the Patriots had eight MPs, and two in the Kaliningrad region.
In the Kaliningrad, Orenburg and Dagestan Regional elections, for the first time the Party was able to take advantage of exemption from the need to collect signatures from which those parties, which were currently represented in the Legislative Assembly benefit.
According to 2010 data, the Party had 146 deputies in municipal bodies.
The IX Party Congress held on September 10, 2011 put forward a list for the State Duma made up of the 309 people (302 at the time of registration). This was headed by party leader Gennady Semigin, actor Sergei Machovikov and the Chairman of the party's executive committee, Nadezhda Korneeva. Also included among the dozens of members on the federal list were Sergei Glotov, the ex-deputy, Eduard Hidirov, the leader of the Dagestan branch of the party, and Evgeny Shevchenko, party representative in the Central Election Committee and Head of the Organization Department.
The Stavropol group was headed by ex-Minister of Agriculture, Alexander Zaveryukha, while the St. Petersburg group was headed by the former First Secretary of the City Committee of the Communist Party, Oleg Korjakin.
The result of the party in federal elections - 0.97%.
Patriots of Russia lists in regional elections held on December 4, 2011 were registered in 10 regions, including Kamchatka, where the party had a group in the current Legislative Assembly. In the Novgorod and Oryol regions the party was denied registration of lists. The party could not overcome the electoral threshold with the maximum result attained in Kamchatka region of 4.01%.
The party did not nominate a candidate for president in the March 4, 2012 election. In December 2011, the party's Central Political Сouncil expressed support for Putin in the presidential elections and applied for membership of the All-Russian People's Front.