Putin inaugurates new movement

AFP-JIJI

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday promoted a coalition of his supporters as his new power base as he appeared to distance himself from the scandal-tainted ruling party during his new term in office.

“We are the Popular Front. We are for Russia,” Putin said at the founding congress of a movement called the All-Russia Popular Front.

Analysts say Putin has long been keen to distance himself from the ruling United Russia party, plagued by a host of corruption and other scandals. Putin, who has never been a card-carrying member of United Russia, delegated the responsibility of heading the ruling party to his protege Dmitry Medvedev after being elected to a third presidential term last year.

Putin first called for the establishment of the loose All-Russia Popular Front coalition in 2011, in a move analysts called a sign of his rivalry with Medvedev, who was president at the time.