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Gazeta.ru. June 27, 2002

Chubais and Kirienko to Oust Putin

by Elena Rudneva

The leader of YABLOKO, Grigory Yavlinsky, issued this statement. According to Yavlinsky, he planned to have a meeting on Monday with the President to "discuss this threat".

On Thursday, Yavlinsky held the first major briefing for the past year. Formally it was devoted to the end of the spring session of the Duma, but in reality the leader of YABLOKO answered almost all the questions posed by journalists.

Q: Grigory Alexeevich, how do you assess the initiative of the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) to nominate a single candidate for 2004 presidential elections?

Yavlinsky: We favour the idea of a single candidate. It remains unclear whether he should be determined 18 months before the elections. The procedure is also unclear, but all these issues can be discussed at the Democratic Assembly.

Of course we are eager to learn whom the SPS is going to fight with at the next presidential elections. We are also eager to learn the position of the Co-Chairman of the SPS Anatoli Chubais. It is interesting that Chubais is acting against Putin and would like to oust Putin from his post. We believe this is an interesting state of affairs. It is also interesting that Kiriyenko would like to oust Putin from his post at the next presidential elections. Until recently we believe that Kiriyenko and Chubais would like to replace Putin with Nemtsov. This is news. On Monday I shall see the President and discuss this matter with him. This represents a big threat for the President.

Certainly, it would be interesting to learn how the SPS is going to do this. We could support the idea that communists should be beaten in the first round. And we would like to learn the new technology of how to fight the communists in the first round without opposing Putin. How did they conceive all this? We don't have enough knowledge about this issue. Maybe we haven't read all the books yet.

We also want to know what would happen in the second round, when the communists are defeated and the single candidate of the democratic forces faces in the second round President Vladimir Putin. What will happen in the Volga Region (Ed. Kiriyenko is Presidential Representative in the Volga Region) and with RAO Single Energy System of Russia (Ed. which is headed by Chubais) and other important centres of our public life?

Q: If such a proposal was made and you were asked to top this list of democratic forces would you agree?

Yavlinsky: You know, in the present circumstances such proposals can be made infinitely. This would not be the first time that I would participate in such elections. I know how all these proposals end. I will not play any part in a puppet show and will not participate in this game of a manageable democracy.

Q: The Duma ends its work and closes the spring session. How would you rate the performance of the Duma?

Yavlinsky: In our opinion the Duma adopted counter-productive decisions during the whole session. Let me provide you with a simple example: the law "On Citizenship" closes all opportunities for former USSR citizens to come to our country. When discussing the law in the second reading we proposed an amendment allowing an old-age parent whose child is a citizen of the Russian Federation to obtain citizenship on application, which would provide old-age parents with an opportunity to live with their children. In the third reading we witnessed some fraudulent behaviour, as the amendment was simply excluded from the text. YABLOKO will initiate an appeal to the Constitutional Court of the RF to repeal the decision to adopt this law. Today all our former compatriots have virtually received the following message from our government: "Don't come to Russia". By the way, this contradicts the declaration of the President of the RF Vladimir Putin that we have to accept at least 50 million migrants.

The same message is sent to young people who would like to undergo an alternative [to the military] civil service. The law "On Alternative Civil Service" has become a declaration of the state: "You may pack your things and leave." No one is interested in developing their intellectual and professional resource. In addition, the third and fourth term of rule will be taken for granted in this corrupt state. There is no other way out. Look at France. In a country where one president governed for 14 years, there is no one left even among his close associates, who would not steal. Three principles work in Russia: "No to immigration, emigrate and viva corruption!" Therefore I rate the work of the Duma as unproductive. Even in a single issue where we support the government – our country’s foreign policy – the Duma turned out to be helpless. There were no discussions of foreign policy issues. Politicians, - and not politicks resolving their own personal ambitions - but serious people have nothing to do in the Duma, and there are virtually no such people left in the Duma.

Q: Can anything unpredictable happen in the Duma before the elections, which will make deputies behave differently?

Yavlinsky: The Duma will not change. The people who built this system do not intend to to discuss anything with anyone. Therefore it is very important to explain to the electorate that they should not vote for this Duma. In a number of issues it simply adopts reactionary decisions.

Q: YABLOKO disagrees with the government draft on many issues, not only on the problem of citizenship – on an alternative service, on the law "On Citizenship", and nuclear waste imports. How can you assess the present system of the executive authority - its performance and preparation of draft laws?

Yavlinsky: In essence the government and president should be the architects of the system that is being created. The task of the government is to work to enable people to live better. To amend something or write laws. But we should know that the draft laws constitute a clear system and we should learn about their development a year or two in advance. There is nothing similar now. Laws are written overnight, and ideas that popped into a bureaucrat’s' head at the last minutes are submitted to the Duma.

Q: You have repeatedly stated that there is a problem of moral and political censorship. Can you see a legislative solution that would make it possible to separate one from the other?

Yavlinsky: There are obvious signs of political censorship today. For example, certain topics cannot be discussed on state [television] channels. Even though this represents a violation of the Constitution, censorship of information is a normal state of affairs today. Everybody knows that the news broadcast from the first and second channels are being censored. A system where one bureaucrat telephones the head of a channel and says:, "This may be broadcast but this should not," is fully functional. In addition, let us take such a serious problem as defamation. Our mass media is reluctant to provide the right information and prefer to distort it. Have you noticed what has happened to the newspapers? I can tell you how the population in the regions react to federal newspapers. Many people told me that they don't know how to distinguish the newspapers with paid items from newspapers without such items and simply don't read federal newspapers. For example, in Kirov, they read local papers.

Q: In places where they don't watch television and don't read federal press with paid items, the communist party has significant support. In your opinion, are there prospects for, say, Seleznyov's Russia, to take up the niche of moderate social democrats in view of the recent developments in the CPRF (Ed. The split between Zyuganov and Seleznyov and their supporters. Seleznyov was expelled from the CPRF.)

Yavlinsky: No. A third of the population, amounting to almost 30 million people, vote for the CPRF now. What kind of niche can be there? As long as so many people are poor and the state system functions as it does today, the CPRF will last. Their electorate in the regions welcome the expulsion of Seleznyov, Goryachev and Gubenko from the party. They say that at least there will be some order. Communists have their own programme and 30 million people are satisfied with this programme: Karl Max, Friedrich Engels and their younger brother Zyuganov. That's their programme. As Sergei Ivanenko once told me, communism will live, just as it has existed for two thousand years.

See also:
Presidential Elections 2004
Duma Elections 2003

Gazeta.ru, June 27, 2002

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