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Press release on 19.01.2000
Yabloko, Fatherland - All Russia and the Union of Right-Wing Forces will prepare a package of priority draft laws.

Three factions of the State Duma - Yabloko, Fatherland - All Russia and the Union of Right-Wing Forces - are going to form working groups to develop a package of priority draft laws. This decision was taken at a meeting of the Co-ordination Council of these three factions on January 19, 2000.

It was decided that they would begin work without waiting for an end to the parliamentary crisis, when the deputies of Yabloko, Fatherland - All Russia and the Union of Right-Wing Forces and most of the deputies from the Regions of Russia group left the hall in protest at the non-democratic procedure for the elections of the Chairman of the Duma and collusion between the CPRF and Unity in the division of posts of the Duma committees.

First of all, the participants of the new coalition plan to submit draft laws on changes to the tax system, ratification of the Reduction in Aggressive Weapons 2 Treaty, laws on the refusal by deputies of privileges and immunity and other laws.

The deputies of Yabloko, Fatherland - All Russia and the Union of Right-Wing Forces still refuse to participate in the plenary meeting of the Duma and reject all official posts in the State Duma.

Based on Interfax reports

The leader of the Yabloko association, Grigory Yavlinsky, was proposed as candidate for the post of President of the Russian Federation

An initiative group of voters (210 people) proposed the Chairman of the Yabloko association, Grigory Yavlinsky, as candidate for the post of President of the Russian Federation on January 19, 2000.

A well-known defender of human rights and member of Union of Right-Wing Forces, Sergei Kovalyov, said in a speech to the meeting of the initiative group that took place in the Central House of Journalists in Moscow that support of Yavlinsky’s candidacy represents a “reflection of our feeling of responsibility for the country”.

According to Sergei Kovalyov, “there is only one man” among the present presidential candidates “who is deeply rooted in the liberal intelligencia”. He called for people to “unite their efforts” to support Yavlinsky and create a “powerful democratic opposition to the vector of political development that has been predominant in the country and is targeted at an authoritarian police state, where the old well-known Soviet secret service will rule the country directly or, which is even worse, indirectly”. In his turn, the Rector of the Russian State Humanitarian University, Yuri Afanasyev, said that “after Yeltsin's departure, Russia has felt a breath of cold”. He noted that the developments of the past months have demonstrated that “not only can some politicians and factions yield to powerful pressure, but so can Russian society in general”.

The first Deputy Chairman of Yabloko, Vladimir Lukin, speaking about Yavlinsky’s chances of victory, said that he “believes in miracles”. “Our electorate is prone to flux: 80% of the electorate can vote for one man and then two months later they can vote for his rival”. Vladimir Lukin also noted that he thinks that not only the first place, but also the second or third positions at presidential elections should be counted as victory, as a victorious result “increases considerably opportunities to influence the political situation in the country.”

Yuri Samodurov, Director of Andrei Sakharov’s Museum, thinks that “Yavlinsky must act in this situation like Sakharov, as more of a saint than a politician” and call for negotiations with the representatives of Chechnya. He also said that Academician Sakharov’s widow Elena Bonner was in Boston and could not come to Moscow because of illness, but had asked him “to tell everyone that she also participated in this nomination and supports Yavlinsky”.

Vyacheslav Igrunov, deputy of the Yabloko faction, said that “after yesterday’s horror in the Duma, such a concentration of decent people creates another atmosphere”.

According to another member of the Yabloko faction Elena Mizulina, “Yavlinsky differs from his main competitor Vladimir Putin through his clear-cut attitude to developments in the country. People who vote for Putin can only hope that their candidate will adhere to democratic principles, whereas Yavlinsky’s electorate is convinced that he will”.

The initiative group also included Chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Ludmilla Alexeyeva, Chairman of the Board of the “Memorial” Society, Arseni Roginsky, theatre producer Pyotr Fomenko, political scientist Lilia Shevtsova, publicists Ludmilla Saraskina and Leonid Batkin, journalist Yuri Rost, Editors-in-Chief of “Obschaya Gazeta” Yegor Yakovlev and “Novaya Gazeta” Dmitri Muratov, writer Mikhail Roschin, poets Yunna Moritz, Sergei Gandlevsky and Igor Irtenyev, Head of the Russian Pen-Centre Alexander Tkachenko, literary critic Gergi Gachev and singer Alexander Gorodnitsky.

Based on Interfax reports.