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Will the genie come out of the bottle?
07.05.07
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Vavra) –

Another political party – the Great Russia – was born in Moscow on May 5. It has brought together Dmitry Rogozin’s Congress of Russian Communities (CRC) and Alexander Belov’s Movement against Illegal Immigration.
The party has chosen an Amur tiger as its symbol. But there are too many “buts” to gain a clear understanding of the new party.
The Great Russia will be based on an ideological platform rather than well-known personalities or government-supported politicians. Its leaders include Duma deputy Andrei Savelyev, Dmitry Rogozin, Alexander Belov and other politicians who share nationalist and patriotic views.
The party leaders’s goal is to muster no less than a quarter of all votes at the next parliamentary elections. This is excessive optimism – even the Fair Russia, which is much more confident, is not likely to get that much. But if the Great Russia is registered with the Ministry of Justice, it may repeat the success of its predecessor, the Rodina Party, which suddenly took nine percent of all votes during its debut at the elections to the State Duma.
The chances are there because the Great Russia has addressed serious problems – illegal immigration, poverty of a considerable portion of Russia’s population and tough Western pressure. Its ideology and slogans are very popular, and therefore cannot fail – patriotism, Russian Orthodox religion and national traditions. In the economy, it is planning to stamp out oligarchs, corruption and a policy of protectionism towards the Russian capital.
The party has described its ideological platform in a multi-page fundamental treatise – the Russian Doctrine – a manifesto of domestic conservatives, anti-Liberals and anti-Westerners. It amounts to its national strategy of Russia’s development.
The party believes that Russia is not yet self-sufficient but should nonetheless follow its “own road.” Offering a detailed concept, the Russian Doctrine has dotted the i's and crossed the t's.
Today, the Great Russia has identified itself as a party of conservatives and traditionalists. But it is much more populist when it comes the national issue, the corner-stone of its ideology.
Dmitry Rogozin is the party’s de facto leader although formally he has been relegated to the background. In effect, the national issue once ruined his promising political career when he carried it too far, spoilt relations with the Kremlin and was ousted from big-time politics. Has he learnt a lesson from these mistakes?
The Great Russia’s political future depends on the resolution of two key problems.
The first one concerns its image. Will the party keep within the limits of political correctness and respectability? If it does, it won’t be able to count on massive support of the voters. But if it does not, it will become a no-holds-barred chauvinist entity that will not find a place in the civilized political system. At any rate, the CRC site contains enough nauseating materials (for instance, about Boris Yeltsin’s death).
The second one is whether its leaders will have enough political intuition, tact, modesty and reason in pursuing its ideas. After all, nationalism, conservatism and patriotism are not only the components of its political program but topical and popular ideology. An attempt to lead devout patriots, conservatives, nationalists, anti-Westerners and anti-liberals is bound to cause many problems – there are too many serious players on this field already and none of them will accept the Great Russia’s leadership and give up their own ambitions.
To sum up, it is very difficult to predict the fate of the new party with such a strong nationalist leaning (although packaged in carefully worded formulas). Maybe, everything will boil down to a loud ‘pop’ from the opening of a champagne bottle. But a much more serious scenario is also possible – we may see a nationalist genie come out of the bottle.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.-0-