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Press release, 14.04.2000


Alexei Arbatov is certain that the START II Treaty will be ratified

Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the State Duma Alexei Arbatov (the Yabloko faction) thinks that there is a good chance the the Duma will ratify START II treaty when it convenes on April 14, 2000.

At the same time Alexei Arbatov told journalists on April 13 that even if the treaty is ratified, it will only come into force after the parties exchange the instruments of ratification.

Such an exchange, according to Arbatov, will not take place immediately, as the ratification law stipulates a number of provisions, in particular those that indicate that the USA must ratify a number of documents closely connected to the START II Treaty.

“Therefore, the forthcoming ratification, which will no doubt take place, should be regarded as a very large and maybe even decisive step, but is still not the final step in the implementation of the START II Treaty,” stressed Alexei Arbatov.

He also indicated that the law on ratification also stipulates a number of provisions, which can enable Russia to exit unilaterally from the treaty. This might happen, if the United States virtually exited from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972.

Alexei Arbatov also noted that two statements of the State Duma are to be adopted at the forthcoming meeting of the Duma (on April 14, 2000). The first will cover the political aspect of the issue – interlinkage of the START II Treaty with the problem of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and political relations between Russia and the US, etc.

The second statement will deal with military-and-technical and military-and-financial issues related to implementation START II Treaty.

Alexei Arbatov also thinks that discussion of the issue as well as the voting on the ratification of the START II Treaty may take place in a closed regime. At the same time Alexei Arbatov stressed that he thought it possible and right to hold an open vote.

Based on Interfax reports.

Yabloko’s candidate for Governor Igor Artemyev calls on all democrats to unite at the elections

Yabloko’s candidate for Governor of Petersburg, Igor Artemyev, thinks that it is possible to propose a single candidate from Yabloko and the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) at the elections in the Northern capital to avoid splitting the democratic electorate.

He has no doubts that “this will definitely happen in the second round” (the SPS candidate at the elections is Deputy of the State Duma Yuli Rybakov). “Such a possibility also exists before the second round and the chances for this are also high here,” said the leader of Yabloko’s St Petersburg branch in an interview with the “Izvestia” newspaper (published on April 14, 2000).

In his opinion, “if the democrats are able to reach agreement for the first time in a long while – and they all opposite the present Governor Vladimir Yakovlev – they will have a good chances of winning”. Assessing his own chances at the elections, Igor Artemyev thinks that he will obtain a percentage of the vote that Yabloko has never obtained in the Northern capital.

He also stressed that the democrats of St Petersburg do not expect to obtain the backing of the Kremlin, as “all the problems of St Petersburg must be solved in this city”.

At the same time he admitted that Yabloko had been conducting negotiations with the “Unity” movement, “which is, not without grounds, called pro-Kremlin”. “We believe that it is important that our colleagues from "Unity” support our democratic candidate” against this Governor, stressed Igor Artemyev.

In his view, this is possible. Igor Artemyev is absolutely convinced that while the present team remains in Smolny (Ed. The building of the city administration), all the elections in St Petersburg “will be dirty. Such is the style of work of this team”.

Based on Interfax reports.