The Russian right-wing is split forever
The talk about the prospect of uniting democratic forces in an
electoral union, movement, or bloc has had a long history and
has little hope for success. From time to time, the idea of such
a union is revived, especially duringsessions of the Democratic
conference that consists of a number of dwarfish party structures,
human rights watching clubs, and first and foremost the Union
of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) and Yabloko. Naturally, the matter
never goes as far as an actual union, although at times the sides,
i.e. the SPS and Yabloko, take steps to meet each other and their
leaders become optimistic. Boris Nemtsov is always more radiant,
whereas Grigory Yavlinsky is always more restrained and often
seems to disbelieve even the theoretic possibility of any union.
Then all the progressive public begins to grieve over the intractability
of the SPS and Yabloko leaders, which makes the democratic dream
of ever gaining power remain just such a dream.
What is the interest of society in general and its democratic
element here? Apparently, it is interested in ensuring that every
significant and constructive political force should be represented
in parliament, while the President of the country should be a
person whose figure and position would consolidate the maximum
possible number of constituents. At the same time, the democratic
parties are concerned about obtaining the broadest possible representation
of their people and their democratic rivals among election winners,
first and foremost their own people. Can any of these goals be
achieved if the SPS and Yabloko are united?
It has repeatedly been proved that a combination of the SPS and
Yabloko electorates does not provide the amount you would expect
from simply adding u the results they might achieve separately.
This is primarily attributable to the adherence of these parties
to considerably different ideologies. Yabloko are right-wing social
democrats with a strong tendency to protect rights, while the
SPS are by no means socialists (not in the least), but unmitigated,
radical market economy promoters and opposed to the state.
Meanwhile, individually the SPS and Yabloko have quite real, although
not absolute, chances to enter the Duma, not in a key position
maybe, but by together presenting a serious force, after they
receive the Duma mandates. Whatever the case may be, the party
system in this country is gradually becoming more stable, while
both the SPS and especially Yabloko are parties with a definite
history. There are no neophytes here.
In short, these are political trademarks that are already familiar
to the constituents. By the way, if they were to unite after the
elections, i.e. right in parliament, the SPS and Yabloko would
have a chance of becoming a third force that would dispute the
monopoly of both the Communist Party (CPRF) and the ruling party.
The right-wing cause will only manage to finally become independent
and separate from the regime, self-sufficient, which is the end
goal in Russia, if the parties which are incorrectly termed right-wing,
i.e. the SPS and Yabloko, perform individually in the first round
of the presidential elections and then nominate a common candidate
for the second, casting the votes of the one who performs worse
to the one who performed better. Meanwhile, so far our right-wingers
have been tightly linked to the regime, the Kremlin, although
they have been trying to guide and monitor that regime. They fail
to do so politically, but are succeeding with the economy.
Anti-communism is only thing that really united Yabloko and the
SPS. It is therefore the only floor on which they can unite, if
the communists were to reach power. Yabloko and the SPS interpret
in different ways their opposition to the state. Like proper social
democrats, Yabloko is against the state from the people's position.
The difference between them is disguised, while Grigory Yavlinsky
and Boris Nemtsov declare with equal zeal their opposition ot
a managed democracy, which happens more and more often. At the
same time, Yavlinsky plainly invests the notion of managed democracy
with the rule of the magnates carried out via the Kremlin and
the government. Nemtsov quite clearly understands what I have
stated repeatedly: that without the mechanisms of managed democracy
the SPS would have never got into the Duma (it is quite a different
matter that they were not expected to play any role whatsover).
In this case we would have a communist government, and the magnates
would be deprived of their property. In fact, by opposing a managed
democracy Yavlinsky and Nemtsov most distinctly reveal the line
of their ideological incompatibility and irreconcilability.
By the way, a union of the present SPS and Yabloko factions in
the Duma, conducting a corresponding coordinated or better still,
unified policy in the present parliament, would represent the
only way for the parties to demonstrate the seriousness of their
intention to unite and the only relevant guarantee that this union
could achieve any electoral results.
However, there is nothing like this and nothing similar can be
However, I can see several reasons why the SPS leaders (primarily
Nemtsov and Irina Khakamada) permanently talk about a union with
Yabloko. This is typical pre-election advertising, news to draw
the attention of the media. These are ritual political manoeuvres,
and a demonstration of some kind of activity. Tacit attempts are
being made to win over part of Yabloko's constituents and at the
same time discredit Grigory Yavlinsky, who still has better chances
at the presidential elections than the SPS leader.
And of course, certain palpation of the power with a threat to
"grow stronger", even if this is a myth.
However, this is not the main point. The SPS, or more precisely
its leaders, need to find a legal pretext for their wish to nominate
for president someone other than Putin. Even a formal agreement
with Yabloko would enable them to do this without any political
risk. However, if Yavlinsky disagrees, they would have to take
the risk on their own. And maybe risk a lot; if, for example,
Putin were to obtain too many votes, more than in 2000. This presents
no threat to the nominee of the right wing if the candidate is
Nemtsov or Khakamada, but this threatens those who hold the SPS
together financially and ideologically.
State Duma elections