Published 23rd November, 2011
United Russia or ER (Edinaya Rossiya) was founded in December 2001 from a merger of the Unity and Fatherland – All Russia parties. They describe themselves as centre to centre-right and believe in centrism, Russian conservatism and pragmatism.
The largest party in Russia it was founded around the then newly elected President Vladimir Putin. After the resignation of President Boris Yeltsin in late 1999 Putin had stood as an Independent and won with 52.94% of the vote. After a period of turmoil in the country Putin and the party ran on a promise of stability.
The party did well in its first major electoral outing by winning 223 of the 450 seats in the Duma in 2003. In the weeks that followed the election the numbers of Deputies joining United Russia meant that by the time the new parliament met United Russia had the support of 310 Deputies, an absolute majority.
With the economy improving Putin went on to win a second term in 2004, although still as an Independent, this time with the support of United Russia; he took 71.31% of the vote.
By 2007 United Russia was tightening its grip on power and in the elections of that year went on to win 315 of the 450 seats in the Duma with 64.3% of the vote.
In 2008 Putin was obliged to stand down as president, having completed his two consecutive terms. He entered into an agreement with a close colleague, Dmitri Medvedev, that he would become prime minister and Medvedev would become president. The deal having been done, United Russia supported the independent Medvedev who went on to win the presidential election of that year with 70.28% of the vote.
Over the next three years there was increased speculation that the original deal included Medvedev standing down in 2012 to allow Putin to stand once more as president. This rumour was confirmed on 24th September 2011 during the United Russia congress, the deal means that Medvedev will slot in as prime minister.
After 2008 the Agrarian Party of Russia merged with United Russia.
Surprisingly for such a large party, United Russia is not affiliated to any international political groupings.