Putin promises Russians billions in spending ahead of polls

20 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin proposed Saturday at his United Russia party congress billons of rubles in spending ahead of September parliamentary polls that could see the deeply unpopular party struggle, reports AFP.

Addressing several hundred of his mostly mask-wearing and socially-distanced loyalists in a Moscow convention centre as the capital set a pandemic high for new Covid cases for the second straight day, Putin proposed deploying billions towards social support.

This included 50 billion rubles ($687 million) on public transport, 30 billion rubles for repairing roads and 20 billion rubles to clean up rivers, among other spending projects on infrastructure and healthcare.

“The program of the party of the leader has to be the program of the people,” the 68-year-old Kremlin chief said in a speech broadcast on state television. He also said the state would be allocating payments and new forms of support for families starting next month.

“Our task is to significantly increase the prosperity of Russian families and the incomes of our citizens,” Putin said.

The gathering, which determines the ruling party’s candidates and electoral platform for September’s lower house of parliament vote, comes after the party has seen support tumble in recent years amid economic stagnation, entrenched corruption and widespread voter fatigue.