ⓘ Party of crooks and thieves


ⓘ Party of crooks and thieves

Party of crooks and thieves is a popular expression among the opposition in Russia used to refer to the ruling United Russia party, led by Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin. It was coined by blogger and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny in February 2011.


1. Origin

On February 2, 2011 in an interview with Finam FM radio station, blogger and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny responded to the question about United Russia:

The English translation "party of crooks and thieves" first appeared in an article of The New Yorker on April 4, 2011 by Russian-born American journalist Julia Ioffe.


2. Usage

The slogan was widely used during the 2011 Russian legislative election campaign by parties and individuals.

Posters, banners, stickers were common during the protests in 2011 and 2012.


3. Public opinion

A Levada Center survey on July 19, 2011 revealed that 33% of Russians agree that United Russia is a "party of crooks and thieves", while 47% disagreed. Another survey by the same center in June 2012 showed an increase in respondents agreeing with the characterization. Of the total, 47% agreed and 40% disagreed. The latest survey was conducted in April 2013 by Levada Center. For the first time since 2011, it showed the majority of Russians 51% agreeing with the phrase. At the same poll, 62% of Russian said United Russia members are about "maintaining and strengthening their own power."

In February 2011, Navalny created a poll in his LiveJournal blog in which around 38.000 people participated with over 96% agreeing with the characterization of United Russia as "party of crooks and thieves".


4. Reaction from United Russia

On October 11, 2011 the Lyublinsky District Court rejected the lawsuit of United Russia member Vladimir Svirid against Navalny.

On November 24, 2011 during a debate on Rossiya 1, State Duma Member Alexander Khinshtein a member of United Russia stated: