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
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