Unity, Fatherland, All Russia About To Unite

The Unity party, and the Fatherland and All Russia movements are ready for a unification congress, due on December 1 in Moscow's Grand Kremlin Palace, Alexander Bespalov, chairman of the executive committee of the Unity-Fatherland Union, said to a news conference that took place at the Novosti agency Thursday. To him, "all hardships and contradictions of the unification process have been overcome". Draft programmes and rules of the new party, tentatively called the All-Russian Unity-Fatherland Party /Single Russia for brevity/ are all ready, he said. Bespalov believes that after registration the party will have half a million-odd members. As to its real leader, he will be elected from among members of the party's supreme council, led by Sergei Shoigu, Yuri Luzhkov and Mintimer Shaimiev. Secretary of the Fatherland political council Alexander Vladislavlev stressed that "the criterion of work of the new party will be returns at elections of different levels". The party will come "well-mobilised and well-organised" to the 2003 parliamentary elections, he said.