From Izvestia, June 3, 2021, p. 2. Excerpt:

[Russian President] Vladimir Putin met by videoconference with United Russia leadership and candidates from the party’s preliminary round of voting for future State Duma candidates, which concluded on May 30. United Russia has been holding primaries to select candidates for office at various levels for many years. Running in the primaries is required for anyone hoping for the party’s nomination. This year, they took place May 24‑30 in every region of the country.

This Wednesday [June 2], United Russia announced the official results by publishing the list of State Duma candidates and those who will represent the party in single-seat districts. The results will have to receive final approval at the party congress set to take place in Moscow on June 19. Party chairman Dmitry Medvedev invited the head of state to attend. The former prime minister also noted that hacker attacks from abroad were successfully fended off during the preliminary voting.

Voter turnout was nearly 12 million. Approximately one‑third of the candidates were volunteers and public activists. Curiously, only one in every four candidates was an incumbent. On average, 13 people vied for each position in the country.

Vladimir Putin commented that United Russia remains the only political party to run such a broad, open selection procedure. He said this confirms that the party is not afraid of internal competition. He also added that the primary voting serves not just to select candidates, but also to further the constant development of United Russia. Dmitry Medvedev reported that the party’s campaign platform is now being drafted, with the president’s Message to the Federal Assembly as its starting point [see Vol. 73, No. 17, pp. 3-7].

“A fundamentally new portion of the party’s National Program will be its progress report. In principle, the party has never shied away from taking responsibility in solidarity with the president and government for the policies it conducts, and single-seat deputies also offer regular reports. But during the 2021 campaign, United Russia is announcing it is prepared to report proactively and comprehensively to the public for the past 20 years, and for the 2016‑2021 ‘five-year plan.’ That is the kind of report Dmitry Medvedev is supposed to deliver. It is a kind of shot over the bow, a decisive and tough step at the start of the campaign,” Political and Economic Communications Agency general director [and member of United Russia’s Supreme Council] Dmitry Orlov told Izvestia.

He said that at the meeting Vladimir Putin essentially painted a portrait of the kind of person who was victorious in the primaries: a competent, energetic, passionate, engaged individual, prepared for open dialogue with people.

“The president’s logic is obvious: Anyone who isn’t willing to live and work by those principles will lose,” said Orlov, by way of explaining the primary defeats of around 20 current State Duma deputies.

United Russia is urging members to give some thought to a rule that would oblige parliamentary parties and elected deputies to report to the voters on a regular basis. Vladimir Putin has supported the idea. The president also mentioned at the meeting that the Duma delegation needs “grassroots” people who “sense what makes the country tick, who sense the challenges it faces.”

“The primaries were a venue for collecting voter demands and problems that we will have to address in the near future. It’s no coincidence that ‘grassroots’ people won in the primaries, people who know well what the population is experiencing. That’s why so many representatives of public organizations and volunteers ended up in their ranks,” Adalbi Shkhagoshev, first deputy chairman of the United Russia Duma faction, told Izvestia.