|On the threshold of the May bank holidays the YABLOKO party announced its decision to begin collecting signatures among deputies of the State Duma for the vote of no-confidence in the government. Many observers were sceptical about the initiative at the time. Some considered it be simply a propaganda move in the election campaign, while others perceived it as an attempt coordinated with the Kremlin and aimed to exert pressure on the Prime Minister.
In reality, however, everything turned out to be serious. As far as we know, the collection of signatures will be launched at the beginning of June. And given that the communists have already conducted the same operation in the State Duma, it becomes obvious that Prime Minister Kasyanov and his ministers may face serious problems at the beginning of summer.
Grigory Yavlinsky's party has criticised the present Russian government for a long time already and has been acting as its consistent opponent.
Adopting a decision to start a campaign for a vote of no confidence in the Government YABLOKO formulated its main claims against the Cabinet. In short they are as follows.
YABLOKO thinks that the present government is first of all unable to provide security for the country and its citizens and curb crime.
Kasyanov and his Cabinet bear responsibility for the failure of the most important economic reforms, without which a qualitative rise in economic growth rates is impossible.
The government does not have a clear social policy. Its only actions in the social sector have aimed to transfer all outstanding problems to the citizens.
Kasyanov's Cabinet has virtually refused to carry out any military reform and has been incapable of conducting administrative reform.
The reluctance of the executive authlorities to guarantee the transparency and controllability of the actions of natural monopolies, as well as their reform is obvious.
In addition, YABLOKO thinks that the government often adopts immoral decisions motivated by one-off commercial interests.These decisions present a threat to the future of our country and our children.
In general, according to YABLOKO, all the aforementioned facts demonstrate that Kasyanov's Government is objectively working to destabilise the situation in the country and engineer a deterioration in the welfare of the population.
If such policies of the Cabinet continue, this may lead to a wideranging economic and social crisis by autumn. The political consequences of this crisis will be catastrophic. In particular, extremist and marginal parties and movements will get a real chance to enter the State Duma on the wave of social protest.
Willingly or unwillingly, the President has played into the hands of YABLOKO's anti-cabinet mood. In his annual address to the Federal Assembly Vladimir Putin did not directly criticise Mikhail Kasyanov. But the actions of the Cabinet were rated unsatisfactory in general. Consider only one statement by the President: that the government will be given political incentives to finally start carrying out the administrative reform - transformation and optimization of the bureaucratic apparatus.
The sensational proposal from the head of the state on the possibility of forming the Cabinet from the parliamentary majority is an overt sign that the President is no longer satisfied with the present rules for forming the Cabinet developed over the past decade, based on the principle of group interests. Such a government is unable to resolve the wideranging tasks marked out by the President in his address.
Thus, the political situation for YABLOKO's implementation of their anti-cabinet idea is quite favourable. In addition, the demarche of Grigory Yavlinsky and his colleagues would also get public support, as the ranks of the discontented have been growing. And YABLOKO will obviously exploit this situation. The party makes another move - it announces that its representatives may enter the new Cabinet, in particular the economic bloc and ministry for foreign affairs.
However, questions arise. First of all, is it viable to dismiss the government right now, as several months later, after elections to the State Duma its proxies will be terminated accordance with the Constitution?
For if the vote of no confidence is exerted, the new Cabinet formed in summer will function only until December. And then it will have to be changed.
In addition, YABLOKO obviously runs the risks of losing part of its electorate with strong anti-communist moods. Immediately after YABLOKO's decision to initiate a vote of no confidence in the government, political opponents of Grigory Yavlinsky began spreading rumours that he had allegedly concluded an agreement with Gennadi Zyuganov, because there are always be those who will believe in this:
We asked the leader of the YABLOKO party Grigory Yavlinsky to answer these and some other questions connected with YABLOKO's initiative to start the procedure of moving a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet.
"Dismissal of the government has nothing to do with our election campaign."
Question: Grigory Alexeevich, why have you decided to fell the government right now?
Yavlinsky: Our initiative is definite. It is connected first of all with the need for a detailed and definite discussion of the work of the government from viewpoint of its operations, strategy and the possibilities this government had for the three years of its functioning.
The attitude of the people to the government has sharply deteriorated. Over the past few months we have experienced constantly growing pressure from our supporters and voters. By the end of April this pressure intensified to such an extent that we could not ignore it.
Our final goal is a change in the policies of the Cabinet in the fiscal sector, the social sector and security sector. We insist that serious corrections should be introduced in the performance of the government. And if this is impossible, then let us speak about individuals. First of all about key individuals in the Cabinet:
Question: But maybe you should not hurry? As after elections we should get a new government. Otherwise you will be reproached for exploiting a vote of no confidence for your election campaign.
Yavlinsky: Before the elections or after the elections: Today each month is dear to the country. In addition who told you that after the elections we will have a new government? The government's performance is extremely poor. That's it. Dismissal of the government has
nothing to do with our election campaign.
Question: You announced your readiness to join the new Cabinet. What posts are attractive to YABLOKO?
Yavlinsky: We have always been ready to enter the government, but only not the one leading the country towards a default, invested in vouchers, mortgage auctions, etc. We shall not enter such a government.
In general our expert could enter the Defence Ministry, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Economy: virtually any ministry. We are ready to discuss definite figures with the President.
Question: And are you ready to participate in the government of the parliamentary majority the President spoke about together with communists? Aren't you afraid that you will be accused of a collusion with Zyuganov?
Yavlinsky: Fortunately, the CPRF is not a [parliamentary] majority. In addition, I would like to remind you that once we refused to work in the government together with communists in Primakov's Cabinet. Regarding the fact that the communists also collected signatures for the Cabinet's dismissal, they have their signatures and we have ours. We can add them together. But this will be a technical operation only and not a political union.
You see, we have been tolerating this state of affairs for too long, and life prompts us to note that our government works poorly! They did not use the favourable situation with oil prices, or the devaluation of the rouble. Now there are scandals inside the Cabinet: And our party, like any other party, is responsible before its electorate.
Elections to the State Duma 2003