Gregori Yavlinsky, head of the liberal opposition bloc Yabloko,
warned against the return of a system based on an "all-powerful
bureaucracy" under President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, at
the end of a human rights conference.
A new system of "disguised national Bolshevism and based
on an all-powerful bureaucracy is taking root in Russia,"
he said on the second day of a specially convened conference on
Yavlinsky, who garnered 5.8 percent of the presidential vote
in the March 2000 race won by Putin, said the "Russian authorities
have no idea about the value of human life".
"Why bother fighting political rivals when you can muzzle
them?" asked Yavlinsky in a jibe at the legal proceedings
against media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky, head of Russian's independent
media group Media-MOST.
Four hundred delegates from throughout Russia traveled to Moscow
to attend the event, which was organized by several human rights
groups including Memorial, the Andrei Sakharov Center and the
The conference slammed human rights abuses in Chechnya, where
Russia is fighting a drawn-out war against separatist guerrillas.
It also attacked standards of press freedom as well as what delegates
said was the growing influence of the secret services in the country's
Rights campaigner Sergei Kovalyov told the conference Saturday
that Putin, a former KGB colonel, was taking the country back
down the road towards its repressive Soviet past.