A Just Russia's Mironov Warns Party Against Contact With U.S. Officials
Published: July 10, 2014 (Issue # 1819)
Apparently striving to outdo the Kremlin in its anti-American stance, a left-of-center party leader has sent a memo to lawmakers from his State Duma faction to "urgently recommend" that they avoid any contact with U.S. officials, a news report said.
A Just Russia party head Sergei Mironov cited a recent Foreign Ministry warning as saying Russian-U.S. relations had changed, and not for the better, advising his party members "not to allow Americans to advance communication in a way that is beneficial for them," or better yet to avoid contacts altogether, Vedomosti reported Tuesday citing a copy of the letter.
The letter was sent out on July 4th — the U.S. Independence Day — the report said. While avoiding contacts was not exactly an order, Mironov said the course of action was "strongly recommended," according to Vedomosti.
While A Just Russia occasionally passes for an opposition party in the country, it has generally stayed in the Kremlin's good graces, holding the third-largest number of parliamentary seats and supporting the Kremlin throughout the Ukrainian crisis that has led to Western sanctions against Moscow and soured the Russian-U.S. relations.
One of the party's more vocal critics of the Kremlin, Ilya Ponomaryov, said of the memo that "everybody should mind their own affairs" and that he would not abide by the recommendation, but added that it would be "very positive" if Mironov followed his own advice, Vedomosti reported.
Political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin said "lawmakers sense what their fates depends on," Vedomosti reported.
"Our president needs an Iron Curtain, needs to create an image of an enemy," Oreshkin was quoted as saying. "So Mironov is demonstrating his vigilance and is doing what any obkom [Communist regional committee] secretary would have done during Soviet times, expecting to earn career advancement."
Members of the ruling United Russia party, as well Communist and Liberal Democratic Party members, have received no such admonitions from their leadership, the report said.
Following a recent increase in the airing of anti-American programs on state-run television, the number of Russians who believe that their country is heading toward a new Cold War with the West has reached 37 percent, according to a survey released Tuesday by independent pollster Levada Center
The poll, conducted in June, gave a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.