[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]

Itogi, March 30, 2004

Grigory Yavlinsky: the goal of boosting votes for United Russia to 40% and probably of raising turnout, affected the results of the parliamentary elections

Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky conducted by Denis Babichenko

Question: You once said that during the night of vote-counting after the parliamentary elections, President Vladimir Putin called to congratulate you on YABLOKO's election to the Duma. How could this happen?

Yavlinsky: Obviously, he had such information to hand at that moment.

Question: Was this conversation continued after it was disclosed that YABLOKO had failed to pass the 5% threshold?

Yavlinsky: No, we did not return to this issue again.

Question: As a result of check of one-seventh of polling stations you found that more than 3,000 votes were taken from YABLOKO and given to other parties. But this circumstance could not influence the overall result of the elections...

Yavlinsky: In our appeal the matter is not about results of the elections in general but only about our disappeared votes based on the example of 14% of polling stations. I believe that these "disappearances" are not equal in all stations. But if we speak about the general results of the elections, they were influenced by the illegal instruction to regional leaders to boost voting for United Russia to 40% and, quite possibly, to change the percentage of voter turnout when at the last moment it was "increased" to a level higher than 50%.

Of course, the reason is not only that some state officials requested addition of votes to the necessary parties. Negligence and incompetence are frequently encountered at polling stations.
However, during summarizing of the overall results in the regions we believe that there is also a prejudiced attitude of commission members and pressure from the authorities. We controlled the elections to make the people know that it is necessary to assume responsibility for all breaches and to prevent negligence in the fulfillment of important state tasks, such as the elections.

Question: Is it possible to equalize mistakes in the calculation of votes and falsification of election results?

Yavlinsky: You scored 100 votes and in the official report it was written down as 150. This is falsification of the result, regardless of the reasons. It may be deliberate or accidental, but that's a different matter.

Question: You signed the appeal saying that voting commissions do not provide for organization of free and real elections. Do you believe that all commissions qualify for this accusation?

Yavlinsky: If I ask you whether all traffic police take bribes, what will be your answer? We have certain evidence showing that a number of commissions are far from perfect in their observance of laws.

Question: The following fact does not fit your accusations. For example, during the parliamentary elections 193 votes for United Russia disappeared at one of the polling stations in Dagestan, together with 53 votes for YABLOKO.

Yavlinsky: Why does it not fit my accusations? This only means that in this case United Russia has suffered like us. We do not ask the court which political forces have been standing behind this or that distortion of voting results. We have requested an investigation into the activities of certain commissions.

Question: What is your opinion about the activities of the Central Election Commission (CEC)?

Yavlinsky: I believe that the CEC does very many useful things and YABLOKO has always supported Alexander Veshnyakov. But the CEC alone cannot make elections more honest and transparent than they are now. For example, what can the CEC alone do in a situation when governors receive instructions to increase the results of a certain party or candidate to a certain level? This is a much broader issue.

Question: The CEC says that differences between its data and results of your check are insignificant.

Yavlinsky: This is up to the courts to decide. What does "insignificant" mean? Every vote is a person. This person thought, made a decision, came and voted. Now someone at the top considers this person "insignificant. This is like a deputy manager of a warehouse being caught stealing, and trying to justify himself by arguing that he only stole a million rubles, though he had the opportunity to steal hundreds of millions. Let's give him an award for honesty!

Question: What are you going to do if the courts refuse to invalidate the voting results or to conduct repeated calculation of votes on the basis of your check?

Yavlinsky: We created a precedent of manual re-counting of protocols, as we promised our electorate. We will see what happens. For instance, we will take advice from Veshnyakov on what we can do with the regional commissions. In my opinion, despite all our documented arguments, the courts will reject everything and the people will only start to believe that it was pointless seeking honesty at the elections. But if the CEC thanks us for disclosing honesty at the elections and the situation is rectified, this will generate far greater confidence than absolute denial of any flaws. Our further actions will depend on the court verdicts.

Question: Was the disagreement with the way in which results of the parliamentary results were summed up the reason for the refusal of YABLOKO to participate in the presidential elections?

Yavlinsky: This was probably named among the other reasons but was not the main reason. The fact that the vote-counting involved numerous breaches was not a motive for non-participation in elections at all. We understand perfectly well that any improvement in the election system will take a considerable amount of time. Moreover, to improve the election system it is necessary to participate in the elections. At elections of 1996 and 2000 we also encountered instances where the official voting results deviated from reality, including cases of falsifications. But the main problem of the latest elections is not connected with breaches during the vote-counting. Presidential elections represent the finale of a broad political process where public politics has been eliminated. Now it is impossible to seriously discuss alternatives for the nation's development. There is a situation when democratic opposition cannot exist constitutionally: there is an arbiter in the form of an independent judicial system, independent media and there is no possibility to provide financing independent from the authorities.

Question: Veshnyakov mentions the following example: in 1991 elections were organized according to the rules of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, but Yeltsin in opposition won...

Yavlinsky: The elections of 1991 were the finale of what began in 1985. Furthermore, I believe that Veshnyakov remembers perfectly well that in the years after 1987 there was far more pluralism in public life than there has been over the past five or six years. The vote of 1991 represented society’s rejection of the Soviet system. This is when the fate of the nation was determined. Communism left the stage when the gap between the authorities and society became irreversible and nothing could help this regime, neither television commercials nor the administrative resource. I do not wish a new revolutionary situation because it costs Russia too much.

Question: Surely you will abandon your changes once representatives of your party are offered state positions?

Yavlinsky: I do not see any connection. We do not trade our positions. If one of our comrades is appointed to the government, we will not start thinking that two multiplied by two equals five because of this.

Question: How realistic is the appearance of a united democratic party by the next federal elections?

Yavlinsky: We would like very much such party or a union to appear. But it is too early to make forecasts yet. Now there is only one large democratic party in Russia: YABLOKO.


See also:

State Duma elections 2003

Itogi, March 30, 2004

[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]

Project Director: Vyacheslav Erohin e-mail: admin@yabloko.ru Director: Olga Radayeva, e-mail: english@yabloko.ru
Administrator: Vlad Smirnov, e-mail: vladislav.smirnov@yabloko.ru