MOSCOW - Sergei Glazyev and Dmitry Rogozin, co-leaders of the Motherland bloc formed hastily in the run-up to the Duma elections to challenge the Communists, debated late into Monday night on a ''set of measures'' to prevent a split in the bloc. Apparently, they succeeded. The two agreed to refrain from any critical remarks of each other and to start legislative work to form a single party.
The meeting of the Supreme Council, the governing body of Motherland (Rodina) ended late yesterday evening. Since their convincing showing in December’s parliamentary elections the bloc’s leadership has held its meetings only at moments of crisis, meaning they have usually been lengthy and behind closed doors.
In the run-up to Monday’s meeting the rift between Glazyev and Rogozin had reached its high point. Taking advantage of Rogozin’s absence last week Glazyev’s supporters gathered at a cinema in Moscow to set up the public association Motherland, electing Glazyev its one and only leader.
Upon returning from Strasbourg, Rogozin promised to settle some scores with his opponents at the bloc’s leadership meeting. However, the council met on Monday in an atmosphere of peace and friendship, as the bloc leaders themselves later assured the press. Emerging in front of journalists after the session both leaders spoke of their determination to preserve the bloc’s unity.
''We will refrain from statements and actions aimed at weakening the unity of our bloc,'' Rogozin told NTV. ''The current political issue, to our opponents' great disappointment, was solved in quite a constructive manner,'' Glazyev echoed him. ''There is no split in the Motherland bloc. There will be no split and there cannot be one.''
The Monday meeting worked out a set of measures to ensure the unity of Motherland, Gazeta.Ru has learnt. Firstly, the problems between the two leaders should not affect the Motherland faction, which is to concentrate on legislative work in the State Duma.
Secondly, all members of the bloc are to abstain from any statements which may damage the authority of Motherland. Thirdly and most importantly, the council moved to form a working group, whose task will be to work out proposals for the bloc’s leadership concerning the creation of a movement of Motherland’s supporters.
That group consisting of five lawyers, including Sergei Shishkaryov, Sergei Danilenko and Andrei Savelyev, will mull over a new name and the legal status of the new movement whose constitutive congress was held by Sergei Glazyev last Friday.
In actual fact, the bloc leaders have taken the first step towards the creation of a new political party on the basis of Motherland. ''A decision was made that we are moving towards the creation of a single party,'' Sergei Glazyev said in televised comments. ''The main thing is that our supporters can be sure that we will find the required solution both for the formation of a single political party and for the creation of an all-Russian movement, because our strength is in unity.''
Rogozin, for his part, said ''Initiatives connected with the usurpation of the [party’s] title, we hope, will be suppressed. And, what’s most important, Sergei Yuryevich [Glazyev] and I have agreed not to engage in self-destruction… Those issues will be dealt with at an internal discussion and we will refrain from statements and actions aimed at weakening the unity of our bloc.''
Indeed, despite expectations (before yesterday’s meeting Glazyev told Gazeta.Ru that the bloc leadership might consider Rogozin’s expulsion), the council did not consider any cadre issues. Instead, it was decided that individual parties that make up the bloc – the Party of Russian Regions of Dmitry Rogozin, Sergei Baburin’s People’s Will and the Socialist United Party of Russia (Sergei Glazyev) – will hold their congresses in mid-February. It is then that the fate of the party will be decided, Dmitry Rogozin said.