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Yabloko: Eight Years Advocating Democracy and Human Rights

Yabloko is the first liberal democratic party in Russia with the eight years of history already and the only democratic party which since 1993 has had a faction in all the three convocations of the new Russian parliament (the State Duma). The leader of the party is Grigory Yavlinsky. At presidential elections in March 2000, Yabloko’s candidate Yavlinsky came third after Vladimir Putin and the communist candidate
Gennadi Zyuganov.

The Association acquired in 1993 such a “non-political name” after the first letters of the three names of its founders, who decided that if the liberal democrats of Russia were represented, in title only, by Vladimir Zhirinovsky with his so-called Liberal-Democratic Party, and “democratic choice” by Yegor Gaidar with his projected reforms for the minority, the name Yabloko (which means “apple” in Russian) would reflect the intention of making life normal.

Yabloko has been always consistent in protecting the liberal values and human rights. In spite of the difficult political situation during the parliamentary and presidential election campaigns of 1999-2000 Yabloko was the only party raising its voice against the war in Chechnya and managed to preserve its electoral base.

Yabloko also spoke against the suppression of the freedom of speech in the NTV case and initiated the creation of the Democratic Assembly (a coalition of all the democratic forces in Russia).

Yabloko has been the only party defending the interests of Russia’s citizens in a situation when the authorities completely neglected the opinion of 90% of the citizens pushing through the laws allowing for the imports of nuclear waste into Russia. At present Yabloko has been preparing a nation-wide referendum on this issue.

At the present Duma the Yabloko faction has 18 deputies – professional economists and lawyers who have been consistently advocating the values of human rights, reform in education, development of local self-governing and civil society institutions, reduction of taxes and improvement of investment climate in Russia, protection of honest competition and transfer to a professional army.

At present Yabloko also has about 50 deputies in the legislative bodies of the federation subjects, including Moscow and St.Petersburg and about 400 members of local councils.

Today Yabloko has regional branches in 70 subjects of the Russian Federation

Yabloko has the observer status in the Liberal International.


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