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Press release, 30.05.2000


Sergei Ivanenko: A number of deputies of the State Duma may vote against the draft laws targeted at strengthening of the power vertical

Deputy Chairman of the Yabloko faction in the State Duma Sergei Ivanenko thinks that a number of deputies elected in single-mandate electoral districts may have their own view in voting at the third reading (on May 31) for the three drafts submitted by the President Putin and aimed at strengthening the power vertical.

On May 29 Ivanenko, in an interview with journalists, expressed his opinion that, despite the formal support of these drafts by the governors, "they will conduct such policies so that these laws are not adopted, at least in their present versions. He also noted that the governors are continuing their talks with the deputies representing the regions to influence their decisions. Ivanenko also stressed that the position of the deputies elected in single-mandate electoral districts will not be decisive, as the party principle is ruling in the Duma, which means that deputies elected under party lists and representing deputies- groups and factions are most likely to vote as was decided by their factions. At present none of the deputies- groups and factions of the Duma have announced that they will refuse to vote for any of the presidential drafts.

Based on Interfax reports.

Overall Yabloko and the Union of Right-Wing Forces support the tax reform initiatives of the government

Yabloko and the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) support in general the initiatives of the government on introducing a uniform rate of personal income tax at a rate of 13%, as Deputy Head of the Yabloko faction Sergei Ivanenko and Deputy Head of the SPS faction Viktor Pokhmelkin informed journalists today.

According to Pokhmelkin, the SPS faction supports the proposal of the Cabinet on a uniform rate of personal income tax and shares the Cabinet-s opinion that all able-bodies citizens should pay income tax.

Speaking about the social tax, Viktor Pokhmelkin noted that the SPS cannot accept the introduction of a sliding scale here. However, he stressed that the SPS will support all other initiatives of the government referring to the introduction of a single social tax. Deputy Head of the Yabloko faction Sergei Ivanenko stressed that this is a very complicated problem, and that the final position of the Yabloko on a single social tax faction would be provided at a later date.

Sergei Ivanenko also said that Yabloko would vote for the initiatives of the government with regards the social tax, provided that they don-t involve any deterioration in the welfare of ordinary citizens. He also said that in general Yabloko positively assesses the tax measures proposed by the Cabinet, even though these measures are not as radical as Yabloko had desired. The State Duma of the Russian Federation will consider the amendments to personal income tax and the introduction of a single social tax on its second reading on June 2,2000.

Yabloko expresses its support for the leaders of the democratic opposition in Yugoslavia

A group of leaders of the Yugoslavian democratic opposition, represented by the Chairman of the Serbian Movement for Renewal, Vuka Drashkovich, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Serbia, Voisla Kostunitsa and Director-General of the TV station Studio-B, Dragan Koyanovich, came to Moscow on the invitation of Yabloko on May 29, 2000. The leaders of the Yugoslavian opposition met with Deputy Head of the Yabloko faction in the State Duma Sergei Ivanenko.

At a briefing after the meeting Ivanenko said that "Yabloko expressed its resolute support for the leaders of the democratic opposition in Yugoslavia. He also expressed concern about present developments in this country concerning freedom of speech and the punitive measures adopted against the representatives of the Yugoslavian opposition. The President and the Government of Russia should publicly advocate compliance with human rights in Yugoslavia and freedom of speech, so that people are able to freely express their views without being afraid of the punitive bodies, noted Ivanenko.

According to Ivanenko: a dangerous trend has developed in Russia today, which is reminiscent of the present developments in Yugoslavia. Speaking about the meeting, V. Kostunitsa stressed that if Moscow continues to back the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, Russia may lose its influence in the Balkans.

He thinks that this is bad both for us and Russia. In his turn Drashkovich stressed that Russia exerts considerable influence over the situation in the Balkans and, consequently, Russia-s vote is very important for Serbia. Speaking about the situation in the Yugoslavia, he noted that today the country lacks virtually all democratic rights and freedoms, and that there is no constitutional law. According to Drashkovich, today Yugoslavia urgently requires Russia-s assistance.

I would be happy, if human rights in my country were observed as they are observed in Russia, noted Drashkovich. The leader of the Serbian Movement for Renewal advocated new elections to the Serbian Parliament and the election of a new President of the country. However, he noted that there were doubts whether in the present circumstances such democratic elections were at all possible, as no elections are possible in a Gulag.