|“||United Russia is the party of corruption, the party of crooks and thieves. And it is the duty of every patriot and citizen of our country to make sure that this party is destroyed.||„|
|~ Alexei Navalny|
United Russia is the ruling political party of the Russian Federation. United Russia is the largest party in Russia and as of 2018 it holds 335 (or 74.44%) of the 450 seats in the State Duma. United Russia members constitute the majority of State Duma since 2007.
The United Russia party formed in December 2001 through a merger of the Unity and the Fatherland – All Russia parties. The United Russia party, along with A Just Russia party, supports the policy of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who is also de facto leader of the party. Although the United Russia party's popularity declined from its peak of 64.4% in the 2007 Duma elections to 49.32% in the 2011 elections, it remained the most popular party in the country ahead of the second-placed Communist Party at 19.19%. In the 2016 elections, it received 54.2% while the second-place Communist Party received 13.3%.
The party has no coherent ideology, but it embraces specific politicians and officials with a variety of political views who support the administration. The party appeals mainly to non-ideological voters, therefore United Russia is often classified by political scientists as a "catch-all party" or as a "party of power". In 2009, it proclaimed Russian conservatism as its official ideology.
According to the party's 2003 political manifesto, The Path of National Success, the party's goal is to unite the responsible political forces of the country, aiming to minimize the differences between rich and poor, young and old, state, business and society. The economy should combine state regulation and market freedoms, with the benefits of further growth distributed for the most part to the less fortunate. The party rejects left-wing and right-wing ideologies in favour of "political centrism" that could unite all sections of society. In addition, the official party platform emphasizes pragmatism and anti-radicalism. The party regards itself to be one of the heirs to Russia's tradition of statehood, both tsarist and communist. United Russia's long-time moniker is "the party of real deeds".
United Russia has always characterised itself as wholly supportive of the agenda of the popular current President Vladimir Putin and this has proved key to its success.
Since 2006, when Vladislav Surkov introduced the term sovereign democracy, many figureheads of the party have taken usage of the term. Former President and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has criticized the term. United Russia voted against the Council of Europe resolution 1481 (Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes).
The party has promoted explicitly conservative policies in social, cultural and political matters, both at home and abroad. Putin has attacked globalism and economic liberalism as well as scientific and technological progress. Putin has promoted new think tanks that bring together like-minded intellectuals and writers. For example, the Izborsky Club, founded in 2012 by Aleksandr Prokhanov, stresses Russian nationalism, the restoration of Russia's historical greatness and systematic opposition to liberal ideas and policies. Vladislav Surkov, a senior government official, has been one of the key ideologists during Putin's presidency.
United Russia has come in for criticism that it is "the party of crooks and thieves" due to the continuing prevalence of corruption in Russia. In October 2011, Novaya Gazeta published an article describing how members of the public were writing the slogan on banknotes in protest. In December 2011, Putin rejected the accusation of corruption, saying that it was a general problem that was not restricted to one particular party: "They say that the ruling party is associated with theft, with corruption, but it's a cliché related not to a certain political force, it's a cliché related to power [...] What's important, however, is how the ruling government is fighting these negative things".
A poll made in November 2011 found that more than one-third of Russians agreed with the characterization of United Russia as "the party of crooks and thieves".
After the 2011 legislative elections, a few leaders within United Russia called for investigations of fraud and reform of the party.
In August 2016, opposition leader Ilya Yashin released a report titled "The Criminal Russia Party", which stated that United Russia had essentially become a tool of political legitimisation for organized crime.