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Statement, May 16, 2003

On Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly of the RF for 2003

By Grigory Yavlinsky

Special for YABLOKO's web-site

The address was very sincere: the president said what he thought. He clearly stated that he believes in "statehood" rather than liberal ideas, and that his prime goal is to strengthen the state. For the first time since President Gorbachev we have been given the message that man is not the central issue of state policies. The statehood political line can and should be discussed. I personally hold another view: a strong state is a state which serves its citizens, and not vice-versa.

At the same time the President announced that he was not going to abolish the liberal-democratic achievements in the country. In this sense he referred to some rights and freedoms of citizens, partners' relations with Europe and the USA and some liberal instruments.


For the first time he acknowledged that a mistake had been made. The President noted the need to reverse the norms of the law on citizenship towards their liberalization.

I can only welcome the thesis on the need to double GDP in ten years, I consider this as an acknowledgement of the need to change the Cabinet. It is absolutely clear that such indices cannot be attained with the present government in ten or twenty years.

The thesis of the address on the formation of a parliamentary majority Cabinet will probably have an impact on citizens' voting at the next parliamentary elections. It is unclear what particular mechanism will be applied for the formation of the government. However, this will clearly affect manipulation of the elections. And the citizens will vote, proceeding from a belief that their decision will directly influence their living standards.

It is bad that the President did not distinguish as separate problems such key issues as: corruption, terrorism inside Russia (not a word about the victims of the acts of terror and there are hundreds of them!), the freezing of people in many regions of the country.

Finally I do not agree with the President's assessment of the situation in Chechnya and its prospects.


Statement, May 16, 2003

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