| The Moscow government banned holding the First of May
march where democrats consisting of YABLOKO, SPS, the Committee of Soldiers'
Mothers and human rights activists from the Moscow Helsinki Group had to
Leader from the YABLOKO party Grigory
Yavlinsky talked in an interview with correspondent of the BBC Russian
Service Marina Gvozdevskaya about the possible reasons for such a decision.
BBC: Are only democrats banned from gathering on the First
of May on the basis of such a formal pretext or were the communists also
covered by this ban?
Yavlinsky: I know nothing here about communists. I
think that communists' gatherings will not be banned as in such a situation
the communists are the only ones who can participate and have always participated
[in the gatherings of the First of May].
But of course it is very symptomatic that democratic organisations,
civil organisations were prohibited from participating [in gatherings
of May 1] by a volitional unlawful method.
BBC: Griogry Alexeevich, how serious is in your view the pretext
used by the Moscow authorities? They said that you failed to indicate
in your applicatoin when the action wouldl begin and end.
Yavlinsky: This is such a pretext which can not be regarded
as a reason, as we could provide them all the information in any minute.
This is a simple thing.
It is simply irrelevant. This is fault-finding. By the way, no single
normative document indicates that we should refer to these things specially
The application was signed by me, the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group
and a number of other democratic organisations. I don't see any grounds,
even formal ones, for a refusal here.
BBC: Do you think you will be really prohibited to participate
or you will manage to obtain permission?
Yavlinsky: I think we shall try very hard to obtain this
permission. However, I can not foresee now how this suit will end.
BBC: Do you see any trend in the actions of the Moscow authorities
here or is it a one-off action?
Yavlinsky: I presume that these are not the actions of
the Moscow authorities. This is a general trend in the country.
And this is connected with the fact that the action was announced as
"Civil Society Against a Police State," and it was banned because
it was stated in such an open and clear way.
The essence of the action is that all the civil organisations came together
- YABLOKO considered it extremely important to conduct such work - all
of them as a solidary protest against a police state.
BBC: How is this connected with the law adopted in the first
reading [by the State Duma] last week?
Yavlinsky: This is connected with the law. The spirit
of this law tell us approximately such things.
In addition, this is the general line of the domestic policy of the
country. This is not the arbitrary rule of the bureaucrats at a regional
level. This is a general line that is present in Russia today.
BBC: What other journalists asked you about this topic?
Yavlinsky: The BBC is the most operative. In Russia
the press works somewhat slowly. This is why such calls and the discussion
of this topic are likely to be raised tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
However there is no arena for discussing these topics in Russia. Television
is monopolized, especially the state-owned channels that are monopolized
to a great extent.
The channels that were traditionally considered democratic are now
servile and have stopped being democratic. The form of ownership of these
channels has changed.
The Russian press will debate the issue. However, it has no political