| The Kremlin wants a tame State Duma, says Grigory
Yavlinsky leader of the liberal Yabloko party.
"The administration thinks that creating a tame Duma with an obedient
majority will be useful for them," Yavlinsky said at a news conference
St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
"However, this dangerous road will only lead Russia to its traditional
Potemkin village [status]," he said.
A Potemkin village refers to an illusory sense of well-being created
Count Grigory Potyomkin, who painted pretty facades on buildings and
dressed their peasant inhabitants as nobles so that Catherine the Great
would believe they lived well when
she passed through in her coach.
"The government should be interested in having an independent
organ," he said. "Otherwise, it
will lead to weakening of the Russian power."
The election campaign for the State Duma is characterized by "unequal
conditions" for different parties,
The pro-Kremlin party United Russia, which is leading the race according
opinion polls, enjoys
overwhelming coverage in the mass media, and especially on television,
Russia has developed a system "that is cosmically distant from
politics," and where "no democratic
society is being created," he added.
"Russia has built up the system of pereferiinyi, or bandit capitalism,
which lacks independent legislative and
judicial authorities, as well as a politically significant independent
media," he said.
All parties running in the election have something to lose, Yavlinsky
"Some will defend their power; some their property; some - practically
nothing, like Communists, who have to
defend only what they had long before that time.
"We will defend freedom," Yavlinsky said.
member of Yabloko faction in St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, said
Yabloko traditionally enjoys good support in St. Petersburg and has three
deputies in the State Duma.
"St. Petersburg is a city of intellectuals, and that's exactly
level that Yabloko leans on," Vishnevsky
said. Polls show that Yabloko may get 10-15 percent of votes in St.
Petersburg, he said.
In the 1999 State Duma elections the party 11.21 percent.
Tatyana Protasenko, senior reseacher at the Institute of Sociology
Russian Academy of Science, said
Yabloko is contesting third or the fourth place in St. Petersburg for
Duma elections with the Communists.
United Russia is leading and the Union of Right Forces is second, she
During his visit, Yavlinsky met with St. Petersburg Governor Valentina
Matviyenko to discuss his party's
representatives in the city administration.
Yavlinsky said Yabloko did not aim to have its representatives in high
positions such as vice-governorships,
but asked to have its professional representatives on city committees.
think that professional
represenation in executive structures is more important than political
appointments," he said.
the original at
State Duma elections 2003