On the threashold of the elections to the Legislative Assembly [of
St.Petersburg] a rare guest - the leader of YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky -
visited St. Petersburg and answered the questions of Izvestia's
correspondent Anton Mukhin.
Question: Six years ago your party supported at the elections Vladimir
Yakovlev and obtained a considerable number of seats in the city
government that was virtually transformed into a "party of power". And
then YABLOKO joined the opposition.
Grigory Yavlinsky: YABLOKO's team achieved a lot then, first of all, the
timely payments of wages for budget workers. We resigned because we were
unable to change the situation with corruption and could not block
Question: But your party has been slowly losing ground with the
Yavlinsky: It is impossible to occupy the same position for six years -
ups and downs are inevitable. In addition, as the President of Russia is
very popular in St. Petersburg, part of our St. Petersburg electorate
supports at present the parties directly linked with the name of Putin.
Question: Can there be a 'renaissance' of YABLOKO?
Yavlinsky: We have never deceived our voters and never stolen anything
from them. There is no other such party in Russia.
Question: Maybe because you simply didn't have the chance to do so?
Yavlinsky: If you have such a wish, you can easily find opportunities to
steal and deceive. But we knew that taking this route would mean either
stealing together with all of them or observing other doing this.
Question: Can you explain the difference between YABLOKO and the SPS for
ordinary voters, using terms other than the language of political
Yavlinsky: Easily. We are concerned primarily with freedom and human
rights. Whereas property is the key issue for the SPS. Property is also
very important for YABLOKO, but it is not the key issue.
Question: In your opinionis the [institute] of [presidential]
plenipotentiaries an efficient instrument of regional policy?
Question: It is considered that the [institute] of [presidential]
plenipotentiaries in St. Petersburg led to the emergence of the second
pole of forces as an alternative to the Smolny (Ed. the city
Yavlinsky: If there were normal elections of deputies [of the
Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg] and the governor, there would be
no disputes about the third or fifth term [of office] and there would be
no need for some alternative pole.
Question: Who could become the next governor?
Yavlinsky: The one indicated by Putin will be elected.
Question: What is your attitude to St. Petersburg?
Yavlinsky: I am very close to S. Petersburg. I first came here when I
was ten years old: I lived for two month with my parents in
Pushkin (Ed. the suburb of St. Petersburg known for its historic palaces
and monuments). I covered the whole of Leningrad (former name of St.
Petersburg) on foot then: this is an unforgettable memory. St.
Petersburg is an integral part of my picture of the world. The flat
where you grew up always remains for you as a brick of the universe.
Elections to St.Petersburg Legislative Assembly, 2002