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The State Duma of the RF

Speech of the First Deputy head of the YABLOKO faction of the State Duma Sergei Ivanenko during discussions of the draft law on the ban on referendums in the year of elections to the State Duma and presidential elections

September 18, 2002

Respected Deputies of the Duma,

YABLOKO supports this draft law. We think it incorrect to use referendum as a tool of election campaign propaganda.

Obviously, a referendum represents a manifestation of the will of the people. But the opinion of the people can also be a revolution and a civil war. The only difference [between the latter and a referendum] here is that a referendum is organized by the authorities, and the authorities should be politically liable. The authorities should set in a referendumquestions that really represent a manifestation of public opinion rather than an attempts to split the country.

Let me give you two examples. The March 1991 referendum on a new union. Following its goals of political struggle, the different groupings in the executive authorities imposed a referendum on the people, which led in December 1991 to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In March 1993 we had another notorious referendum "Yes-Yes-No-Yes" (Ed. A popular slogan used by virtually all the federal media to "prompt" the nation to make the 'correct' answers). One of the political groupings following its goals imposed this issue on society, which finally led to the bombing of the 'White House' (Ed. This refers to the building of the Russian parliament) in October 1993.

We think that all the political forces in the country responsible for the future of our children should remember these lessons. Only now are we overcoming with great effort the consequences of 1993, and now again you are proposing a return "back to the battle". Nothing else can come out of the referendum proposed today by the Communist Party.

We categorically oppose this idea.

See also:
Elections to the State Duma 2003
Presidential Elections 2004

The State Duma of the RF, September 18, 2002

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