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Press release, 15.05.2000


Igor Artemyev to contest the results of the gubernatorial elections in St Petersburg

Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and Chairman of the Political Council of the St Petersburg branch of Yabloko, Igor Artemyev, plans to contest the results of the gubernatorial elections in St.Petersburg. He made this announcement to journalists early on May 15, 2000 after the results of the elections had been pronounced.

According to preliminary data, the acting head of St Petersburg Vladimir Yakovlev won a convincing victory at the gubernatorial elections on Sunday. He obtained 72.2% of the votes. Artemyev, who participated in the race as a single candidate from Yabloko and the Union of Right-Wing Forces came second with 17.68% of votes.

According to Artemyev, a video with distorted information on the procedure and order of the forthcoming voting was incessantly repeated on St. Petersburg television over the past two weeks. In addition, according to Artemyev’s data, leaflets where he “allegedly called on citizens not to participate in the elections" were distributed all over the city two days prior to the elections. Artemyev thinks that these facts “should be investigated”. He said that Yabloko lawyers “are already preparing corresponding appeals to the Public Prosecutor’s office and courts.

” Artemyev also thinks that once the detected violations have been investigated the elections may be invalidated. “In any case, we will dispute them,” added Artemyev.

Based on Interfax reports

Sergei Ivanenko: The union between the SPS and Yabloko was a correct step: the strategy targeted at uniting all democratic forces will be continued

"The results of the gubernatorial elections in St Petersburg confirmed that the decision of the SPS and Yabloko to form a union was the right step.

The strategy of uniting all democratic forces will be continued,” stated Deputy Head of the Yabloko faction Sergei Ivanenko in an interview with journalists on May 15, 2000.

“The results obtained by Igor Artemyev at these elections are considerably better than the results obtained by Yabloko at parliamentary and presidential elections,” stressed Sergei Ivanenko.

He also noted that “if such a decision had been adopted earlier, Artemyev’s results might have been even better”. “At the same time unfortunately we have to admit that electoral turnout for the St Petersburg gubernatorial elections was low. This demonstrates that people do not believe that life can be improved.”

According to Sergei Ivanenko, “when the turnout is low, the communists who actively supported the current governor are the best organised part of the electorate and their influence on the results of the voting was decisive.”

Vladimir Lukin expresses his concern that due to the actions of the authorities, dissenting mass media may simply disappear

Deputy Speaker of the State Duma (the Yabloko faction) thinks that the search in the Media-Most office and attack on the Novaya Gazeta journalist are elements of one and the same chain.

According to Vladimir Lukin: “It would not be right to think that these are separate incidents, there have been too many such separate cases.”

“The chain of incidents begins to look more like a purposeful strategy,” noted Vladimir Lukin. In an interview with Novaya Gazeta, published on May 15, he expressed his view that all these incidents may represent simply revenge against these mass media by the authorities.

Vladimir Lukin also said that: “if the authorities have become seriously concerned with the mass media, then … the work will be carried out through a carrot and stick approach, overt bribery or threats”. Consequently, the dissenting mass media will simply disappear or will become the mere puppet spokesmen of the authorities and oligarchs,” stressed Vladimir Lukin.

He also noted that “we would like to think that this terrible nightmare will never happen.”

Based on Interfax reports

See also

Igor Artemyev (the Yabloko faction) believes that reforms of the new administrative division of the country are being prepared in Russia

According to the Deputy of the State Duma and a candidate for post of governor of St Petersburg, Igor Artemyev, a reform of the new administrative division of the country has been prepared in Russia. He made this statement in a speech at his electoral district (on May 14) with regards the presidential decree signed on May 13, 2000, on introducing the institute of plenipotentiary representatives of the head of the state in federal districts.

According to Artemyev, if “this implies a reform of the administrative presidential apparatus, it is not very important how it is done and how the presidential representatives in the regions will build their work.” However, added Artemyev, if “this implies a change in the territorial-administrative division of the country is in question, it can only be sanctioned by amendments to the Constitution of the RF”. Artemyev recommended in-depth study of the Decree.

Based on Interfax reports

Sergei Ivanenko: Most deputies of the Yabloko faction will not support the candidacy of Mikhail Kasyanov

Most deputies of the Yabloko faction will not support the candidacy of Mikhail Kasyanov for the post of Prime Minister.

After a meeting of the members of the Yabloko faction with Mikhail Kasyanov on May 15, Sergei Ivanenko told the journalists that “we have still not found sufficient reasons to support Mikhail Kasyanov's candidacy for head of the Government”.

At the same time Sergei Ivanenko noted that the newly elected President had the right to propose a candidate of his choice for the post of Prime Minister.

According to the representative of the Yabloko faction, today the deputies did not manage to obtain “clear answers” from the candidate on the post of Prime Minister on the future economic policy of the Cabinet and interaction of the authorities with the mass media, as well as about “corruption in the government”.

Sergei Ivanenko also said that Mikhail Kasyanov had admitted that “there is corruption in the government”. Ex-Finance Minister and member of the Yabloko faction, Mikhail Zadornov, said that he would not support the candidacy of Mikhail Kasyanov.

“Personally I will vote against him,” said Mikhail Zadornov to journalists on May 15 after the meeting of the Yabloko faction with the candidate for Prime Minister.

In his turn, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma from the Yabloko faction Vladimir Lukin informed journalists that yet he had personally not taken a final decision; he called Mikhail Kasyanov “a highly skilled economist”.

But, according to Lukin, the post of Prime Minister is more political than an economic post. “In terms of the questions that we asked Mikhail Kasyanov today, they were the same as the ones that we ask the head of state and refer to power in general,” said Vladimir Lukin. He also stressed that the deputies from Yabloko worry about the “chain reaction that has swept through the mass media, which demonstrates that have been either directly or indirectly influenced”.

Based on Interfax reports