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Rossiyskiye Vesti, September 10, 2003

YABLOKO with Yavlinsky
The party set its barrier

By Alexei Svetlanov

The Congress of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO demonstrates that it is maintaining its image and position.

The opening of the congress witnessed a scandal. YABLOKO Without Yavlinsky represented by Igor Morozov and several dozen young people, most of them who were clearly inebriated, came to the Russian Academy of the State Service, where the congress was held. When the leader of the youth organisation of YABLOKO Ilya Yashin tried to push the crowd away from the television cameras, Morozov did not mince his words and threatened Yashin with physical reprisal. The police meanwhile pressed the 350 delegates and guests of the congress into the hall, where the leader of the party Grigory Yavlinsky opened the congress with his political report.

Noting obvious economic successes of Russia this year Chairman of YABLOKO, however, characterised the developments in the country as typical of a country which is lagging behind. It should be noted that this is at least the third new definition (after the "periphery capitalism" and "authoritarian bureaucratic system") used by Yavlinsky to try and raise public and academic debate. The report also provided a division of political forces in Russia which is alternative to the traditional division into "left", "right" and "centrists": "communists and nationalists who have a notion of the past, but not of the future"; the right-wing "expressing the interests of the narrow group of the richest"; the party of the power "striving to preserve the status-quo"; and democrats, i.e. YABLOKO.

According to Yavlinsky, the party is going to elections acknowledging that the elections cannot be recognised as quite free and independent, as they fall under the significan influence of administrative resources. A political scientist would note at once how far this definition differs from that announced at the CPRF congress that the coming elections will be falsified. It is worth highlighting the following initiatives that were announced by YABLOKO before the congress: a tax amnesty to legalise capital and the introduction of a single social allowance providing a subsistence minimum for all the needy.

The approval by the congress of the federal and single-mandate list of candidates was the central moment of the congress. Yavlinsky noted that all eleven congresses of the party were open, even this one discussing the candidates. At the same time on the threshold of the congress the press service told our correspondent that the meeting would only be open for the report of the leader and then the press would only be allowed to attend the briefing.

Igor Artemyev, Deputy Chairman of the Credit Committee of the Duma and former Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg, was the third candidate of the federal list of YABLOKO after Yavlinsky and Vladimir Lukin. Positions from four eight were given to present deputies of the faction Sergei Mitrokhin, Aelxei Arbatov, Alxander Shishlov, Viktor Kuschenko, Alexei Melnikov and Alexei Zakharov.

The ninth place was given to writer and publicist, one of the party intellectual leaders Boris Vishnevsky. The tenth place was given to Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Motorin (in 1995 he was a candidate in a single-mandate district in Moscow, and in 1997 he took up a post in the Finance Ministry together with Mikhail Zadornov). The eleventh and twelveth places are taken by Konstantin Kogalovsky, Vice-President of YUKOS-Moscow company and Galina Antonova, Director of the Financial Department of YUKOS. The thirteenth place was given to Alexander Osovtsev who joined YABLOKO from the post of Chairman of the SPS Executive Committee. The fourteenth place is held by a Deputy of the State Duma of the second convocation Sergei Don. Sixteenth place is taken by Marina Synkovskaya, Deputy Plenipotentiary of the President of the RF in the Siberian Federal District.

The final seventeenth place was given to a representative of the St. Petersburg regional branch of YABLOKO Andrei Tzarikovsky. And Sergei Kovalyov, whose candidacy was rated in different ways by different delegates of the congress is number one on the St. Petersburg regional list. According to Rossiyskiye Vesti, it was Yavlinsky's decision to include Kovalyov on the federal list of YABLOKO. First of all, the decision by Kovalyov to join YABLOKO from the SPS undermines the connection of the SPS with the democratic tradition of protecting human rights. Secondly, public interest in human rights will soon increase, together with the growth in the arbitrary rule of the bureaucracy, in particular in the regions, and the adoption of a number of tough laws, as for example the law "On Citizenship".

Another two representatives of YABLOKO are interesting: the number two in St. Petersburg Alexander Gorodnitsky and number one in Central Russia Alexander Minkin. Deputy Head of the YABLOKO faction Sergei Ivanenko decided to run as number one in Moscow, i.e. virtually number eighteen - nineteen in the federal list. Yavlinsky noted that without Ivanenko who has been heading the work of the faction for ten years already YABLOKO would not be able to exist. This reflects the leader's strong belief that at the elections the party will obtain 6.5-7% of votes as minimum.


See also:

11th Congress of YABLOKO

Rossiyskiye Vesti, September 10, 2003

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