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Interview with Victor Pokhmelkin

Vremya MN, September 15, 2001, p. 4

Deputy Chairman of the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) Faction of the State Duma Viktor Pokhmelkin announced that the best time to dissolve the Duma would be spring 2003. We asked him to comment on this statement and some other issues connected with activities of his party.

Question: What is your forecast based on?

Pokhmelkin: As a matter of fact, I haven't made any official announcement. I just answered a question about the probable dissolution of the Duma. In my opinion, the dissolution is possible in the event of mutual agreement of the president and the Duma. The aim of this action is to separate the terms of presidential and parliamentary elections. Clearly these terms are too close to
each other now, which is inconvenient for the presidential side. Besides, soon parliamentary elections will be conducted on New Year's Eve. Of course, it is better to reschedule this election for spring, when the people are in a better mood, which influences the results of their voting.

Question: You said that the bill on parties adopted last summer is to come into effect in June 2003. Won't it come into effect earlier?

Pokhmelkin: The bill will come into effect earlier, but it envisages a two-year transition period, during which all political organisations and public movements will be entitled to run in the elections. In my opinion the date of the Duma election will not be closely connected with this law. Besides, it is rather dangerous to conduct elections in summer, as voter activity declines.

Question: Let us consider the most recent events in the USA. Do you think that deputies will insist on extending funding for the defense complex during consideration of the draft 2002 budget in the light of these events?

Pokhmelkin: Security structures have also made such hints. It is necessary to avoid rushing to extremes. On the one hand, we should not grudge money on fighting terrorism. On the other hand, money intended for fighting terrorism should be spent as effectively as possible. This money should not be spent on other needs of the law enforcement agencies.

Question: Last spring the SPS announced that Yabloko and the SPS were developing alliance relations. Is their any progress in these relations?

Pokhmelkin: Unfortunately, the establishment of the SPS has not led to
consolidation of the liberal movement, but rather to its disintegration. It has also led to disintegration with Yabloko. This is a natural process, as many prominent liberals and human rights advocates have left our party. However, I am convinced that the SPS, Yabloko, and all other liberal movements should run in the next elections together. It is necessary to consolidate the liberal movement, as the government party is strong and the Communists are even stronger.

See also:

Yabloko and SPS

Vremya MN, September 15, 2001, p. 4

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