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Press Release, 20.12.99
Vladimir Lukin: Despite the difficult conditions we managed to retain our electorate

One of Yabloko's leaders, the Chairman of the Committee for International Affairs of the State Duma of the second convocation Vladimir Lukin, commented on the preliminary results of the elections to the State Duma , whereby Yabloko together with five other electoral blocs overcame the 5% barrier. Vladimir Lukin expressed his satisfaction with these results.

At a press conference held on December 19, 1999 in the electoral headquarters of Yabloko, Vladimir Lukin noted that "we managed to retain our basic electorate in very difficult conditions, as the government has never manipulated the electorate's moods so ruthlessly and openly as it did this time". Vladimir Lukin explained that when he used the term government, he was referring to both the federal and regional executive authorities. According to his estimates, these elections demonstrated that the "political parties in Russia have no resources comparable to the force of administrative pressure on the people". Therefore, he said that we can state that the political associations participated in the Duma elections only formally, as in reality everything depended on the administrative structures hiding behind political masks. Vladimir Lukin also said that in these conditions, when "the masks actually achieved victory over the real political ideological parties, Yabloko should decide how "to maintain the shoots of democracy, when faced by the predominant communists on one flankin the Duma and the masks on the other". Vladimir Lukin also said that Yabloko may have to conduct intensive negotiations with those factions in the Duma that advocate "a normal competitive market economy".

Answering questions from journalists, Lukin noted that "if "Unity" and the "Union of Right Wing Forces" prove their adherence to these norms, then Yabloko does not rule out consulting these parties to develop positions on "specific programmes through agreement on mutual obligations and concessions."


Based on Interfax reports.


Sergei Stepashin believes that Yabloko will be able to become a centre in the new State Duma for a union of right wing forces

Ex-Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, who won a seat to the State Duma in the 209th single mandate electoral district in St Petersburg, thinks that Yabloko will be able to become a "centre for a broad union of right wing forces" in the new Duma. He expressed this opinion in an interview with journalists on December 20, 1999.

According to preliminary data, Sergei Stepashin secured 49.41% of votes, which constituted the best result in St Petersburg and one of the best results in the country.

Asked about the results of the elections to the State Duma for Yabloko, Sergei Stepashin replied that "most importantly, despite an election campaign that can hardly be called clean and honest, we won".

He stressed that Yabloko used "no dirty tricks and struggled honestly, although much dirt was thrown at us".

Here the Ex-Prime Minister provided as an example the "distortion of Grigory Yavlinsky's position on Chechnya", which in his opinion "deprived Yabloko of several per cent of votes".

Based on Interfax reports


St Petersburg politicians assess the results of the State Duma elections in the Northern capital of Russia

The Chairman of the St Petersburg branch of Yabloko, Alexander Shishlov, noted in a discussion with journalists on December 20, 1999, that, although Yabloko "expected a better showing in St Petersburg, the results should not be treated as a defeat for the party". "We are satisfied that Yabloko representatives came first in single mandate electoral districts, winning in four out of eight districts," noted Shishlov.

An important victory was won by Sergei Popov, a deputy of the Yabloko faction, winning the seat in the new Duma from Yuri Boldyrev.

Shishlov congratulated the "Union of Right Wing Forces" on their success and expressed his certainty that in the new Duma Yabloko and the "Union of Right Wing Forces" would be able to co-operate on a number of key issues and "together defend the interests of St.Petersburg".

At the same time, the former Mayor of St Petersburg, Anatoli Sobchak, who lost the Duma elections in the 211th single mandate electoral district to Pyotr Schelisch, a representative of Yabloko, with a gap of 2% of votes, said that he was not surprised by the election results.

Based on Interfax reports.



Grigory Yavlinsky: Yabloko's showing in the elections was worse than expected owing to unfair competitive conditions

Explaining why Yabloko did not fare as well in the Duma elections as it had expected, Grigory Yavlinsky said at a press conference on December 20, 1999, that unlike " Unity" and the "Union of Right Wing Forces" Yabloko was not accorded any air time on ORT and RTR TV channels.

"How can we compete if one of the goals on a football pitch is one metre long, while the other is 10 kilometres long?" declared Yabloko's leader.

Grigory Yavlinsky also stated that unlike its competitors Yabloko did not use the Prime Minister as its PR agent.

Based on Interfax reports.

Vladimir Lukin: the Duma elections cannot be considered democratic
The First Deputy Chairman of Yabloko, Vladimir Lukin, thinks that "the Duma elections cannot be considered democratic".

"The holding of what are called "democratic elections" in Russia has only an indirect relation to real democratic elections", said Vladimir Lukin to journalists during a press conference at the electoral head offices of Yabloko on December 19, 1999.

According to Vladimir Lukin: "this campaign is unprecedented in terms of the impudent manipulation of public opinion". Vladimir Lukin added that during this campaign:"impudence and shamelessness increased from day to day.

Lukin also noted that "all the efforts and power of state institutionswere targeted at yielding results for the state apparatus", masked atthe elections in the blocs "Medved" (the Bear) and the "Union of Right Wing Forces", which "neglected all the rules, principles and laws".

According to Vladimir Lukin: "any sign of shame was forgotten" and even on the threshold of the elections "open propaganda was demonstrated in favour of these blocs".

"This factor, said Lukin, was linked to the rather weak political and democratic culture of the population and its habits that have developed throughout previous decades to regard the mass media - newspapers before and television now - as providing the absolute truth".

"The result represents a victory for nostalgic and reactionary forces, in other words the communists, and a victory for the state machine over civil society and democratic institutions", said Vladimir Lukin.

He also noted that Yabloko "has retained its electorate". According toLukin: "this means that there are people in Russia who do not yield tothe machine of propaganda and tomfoolery." At the same time Lukin pointed out that "Yabloko made serious political mistakes and suffered from organisational weaknesses during its electoral campaign".

"These elections demonstrated yet again that Russia is an oligarchicstate with democratic political structures", said Lukin. He is convinced that "radical democratic reforms in Russia both at the upper top and below" are needed.

Based on Interfax reports

Grigory Yavlinsky thinks that the leadership of "The Unity" (Yedinstvo) bloc indicates that Russia is "in many aspects still a Soviet country".

The leader of the Yabloko association Grigory Yavlinsky thinks that the success of "The Unity" (Yedinstvo) bloc at the parliamentary elections indicates that Russia is "in many aspects still a Soviet country".

At a press conference at Yabloko's electoral head quarters late at night on December 19, 1999, he said that "People are used to believing what they hear on television".

Yavlinsky told journalists: "If you tell me that the TV air time for the blocs, "The Unity" and "Union of Right Wing Forces" did not fall within any budgets, I would probably agree with you".

In his opinion, these blocs "violated all the restrictions and constraints" on numerous occasions. At the same time, added Yavlinsky: "the mass media do not influence Yabloko's electorate, as they influence the whole country." Grigory Yavlinsky expressed himself satisfied with Yabloko's achievements in the electoral campaign. "We are satisfied that Yabloko remained an independent civil party, that we did not have to join up with or be subordinate to anyone and that we did everything required by the country and our electorate throughout the campaign".

Speaking about the difficulties encountered by Yabloko during the electoral campaign, Grigory Yavlinsky noted that this campaign had begun with the explosion of blocks of flats in Moscow, Volgodonsk and Buinaksk, which led to the death of hundreds of people: "Throughout the campaign the country experienced periods of sheer military hysteria. Obviously, in such circumstances civil parties face large difficulties during their campaigning."

Grigory Yavlinsky also noted that during the campaign Yabloko had not diverged from any of its principles: "I would like to get 5% more votes, but would have had to remember for the rest of my life that, when the war in Chechnya began, I had said that we should fight until the last Chechnian and last Russian soldier dies, as our opponents did."

According to Yavlinsky: "Yabloko did not use any "negative PR", did not use any methods that involved discrediting our opponents." Yavlinsky also thinks that "this time the communists will not control the State Duma. We will witness another development there. In this situation Yabloko will find its place and play its role".

Yavlinsky noted that Yabloko is ready to co-operate with different forces in the Duma, but on "specific problems". He also said that "we will retain our independence and will not join anyone and follow our own way". According to Yavlinsky: "in 20 years Russia will become a democratic country, and such a party as Yabloko will have a controlling block of shares in the State Duma".

Grigory Yavlinsky also told journalists, that Yabloko would have its own candidate for Mayor of Moscow in four years' time. Explaining why Yabloko had not proposed its candidate for Mayor of Moscow this year, he said: "for many years we sought common ground with Yuri Luzhkov, but the situation has changed and his team has been formed in such a way, that we did not manage to find such points of contact and don't regret this development".