See under: Gogol, Nikolai: "The Inspector General." The party's all-powerful position means that it is racked with corruption and bureaucratic indecision. This could become a serious liability next year when the Unity Russia-controlled Duma will have to transfer power from the presidency to Prime Minister Putin, upsetting some very powerful interests and creating a period of uncertainty.
Called "the best draft pick since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar," Vladimir Putin is a franchise player's franchise player, reflected in the fact that whereas every party has always had three names heading its list, United Russia has just Putin. The rest of the party list may as well consist of a bucket of hagfish, they'd still sweep.
2003 Season Stats
305 seats in the Duma, a Constitutional majority. Over 1.5 million party members nationwide.
Total fucking blowout. Unless Putin withdraws and cancels elections and stays on as President. In which case, United Russia still wins by a landslide. Even if the End Times comes and Jesus battles the Anti-Christ, United Russia will still sweep.
War between the siloviki clans has caused some concern for the health of some members of United Russia, although all starting players are listed as active for December 2's bowl game.
LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia)
The LDPR is the team everyone loves to hate, racking more personal fouls than any team in NEL history. They've never returned to their glory of the mid-1990s, but they're the league's crowd pleasers and thus far have always managed to secure at least a wild card berth. Season after season, the party's ultranationalist half-Jewish leader has bowled over the electorate with calls for legalizing polygamy, nuking America, stealing back Alaska, ethnically cleansing Russia, and other fan-friendly acts.
Russia's oldest and most dependable virtual party. It's been headed since its inception by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, nee Edelshtein, a flamboyant orator with KGB connections and a Jewish father. Reportedly set up by Gorbachev's top KGB operatives in 1989 in order to discredit his opposition, the LDPR is the one party that has survived three political epochs with the same function: ultranationalist bogeyman on the outside, Kremlin tool on the inside. Zhirinovsky admitted that he owns 150 apartments and 317 cars. In the 1993 Duma elections, LDPR shocked the world by gaining 23% of the vote and 64 seats. Several bribes and contract hits later, the LDPR was in disarray and almost out of the picture until 2003, when they became useful again. Recently stung by defections of top founding member Alexei Mitrofanov and billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, among others.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky; Andrei Lugovoi; Igor Lebedev (Zhirinovsky's son)
The perpetual savagery and gullibility of roughly one-quarter of Russia's voting public guarantees a steady supply of LDPR votes.
Since the LDPR is a business, its team members are the most easily-acquirable during the draft. The loss of irreplaceable franchise players like Mitrofanov and Kerimov could mean that the party's services are no longer needed.
As the old adage goes, "you can't win your league on draft day, but you can certainly lose it." If the LDPR is knocked out this year, it'll be because of their Draft Day Massacre. The LDPR's #2 man, Alexei Mitrofanov, went free agent and signed a contract with LDPR's opponents at Fair Russia just months before the start of the elections. Mitrofanov is the sexually progressive intellectual of the party, famous producing a porno featuring Saakashvili and Timoshenko look-alikes banging in a sauna, and also for penning a book about some taco-slappers. LDPR attempted to recoup from this ideological blow by drafting Andrei Lugovoi, whom British police suspect in the plutonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.