Russian gaming guru enters politics, but is he playing for the Kremlin?
Observers say it’s also unlikely that any of the new parties will meet the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament.
“The main objective is really to minimise the risk of a decline in the popularity of the ruling United Russia party,” said Tatiana Stanovaya of the R.Politik think tank.
– Ruling party woes –
United Russia is experiencing a slump in support over Russia’s ailing economy, with just 33 percent of voters saying they will cast their ballots for the once-dominant party in upcoming elections, according to state polling agency VTsIOM.
The figures mark a steep decline from 2016, when United Russia won 54 percent of votes in legislative elections.
Another recent entry to politics was Sergei Shnurov, the lead singer of hit rock group Leningrad.
Shnurov joined the Growth Party — founded in 2016 by a Putin ally — last month, taking care to delete old social media comments critical of the president.
This sudden burst of activity, says Stanovaya, is designed by the Kremlin to draw attention from Russia’s difficulties.
“These manoeuvres are not an attempt to talk about the future of the country,” she said, instead describing it as a strategy to “avoid real problems”.