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Novaya Gazeta, November 17, 2003

Who Devised the SPS "military doctrine"?
Apple (YABLOKO) roasted in duck sauce* - a dish of the day of the election campaign PR

By Orkhan Dzemal

* Ed. Pun on the word utka meaning duck and scandal rumour

A conflict between YABLOKO and the SPS makes them the main competitors in the State Duma election campaigns. Keeping face, the two parties try not to surpass the limits of decency. However, a document with a long title "Reducing YABLOKO's Election Prospects to a Critical Level and Eliminating It as a Political Rival of the SPS in the Elections" has been circulating among newspapers.

According to this document, the SPS aims to discredit YABLOKO as much as possible in the eyes of voters; discredit YABLOKO and its leaders in the eyes of the President and his inner circle; cut the potential "don’t know" electorate from the party; achieve public discrediting of YABLOKO's leading personalities, first and foremost Grigory Yavlinsky.

It proposes the creation of a movement For YABLOKO Without Yavlinsky or initiate scandals around YABLOKO. The following may serve as topics for scandals: allegations of forged signatures; organization of the disbandment of YABLOKO's regional organisations; a search in the Electoral Head-Quarters for "undeclared cash" (including further detection of the latter); publication of bugged talks between the oligarchs and leaders of the CPRF (Ed. The Communist Party); detection of drugs with one of the leaders; video records of the "leisure" of YABLOKO's leaders; demonstration of the ignoble behaviour of members of the party leader's family.

A special point is to discredit Grigory Yavlinsky. It is planned to accuse him that his personal fortune exceeds dozens of times the party's annual budget and that his two sons live in the USA on the payroll of the US secret services, that Yavlinsky is a homosexual with HIV and that he was treated for AIDS, and not a heart attack.

This plan needs to be taken seriously, as some points in the plan have already come true. We have consolidated in a table the points of the plan that coincide with real events.

Organisation of the disbandment of YABLOKO's regional branches

On September 15 the leader of the Kolomna-based branch of YABLOKO, Igor Rybakov, who had led this organization for six years, stated that all 76 members of the branch had unanimously passed a decision to withdraw from YABLOKO.

The self-same Rybakov stated that a whole branch withdrew from the party owing to the authoritarianism of its leader.

A search in the headquarters for "undeclared cash" (and discovery of the latter): on October 23, a search was conducted in the office of a PR-agency working for YABLOKO. The search led to the discovery of $700,000 in cash.

Discrediting Grigory Yavlinsky: on November 3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta published an article entitled "YABLOKO's Incomes", claiming that Yavlinsky's son Mikhail Smotryayev wass selling his London house for $700,000 at his father's insistence.

The campaign for Yavlinsky's resignation: the campaign For YABLOKO Without Yavlinsky gathered momentum throughout the past summer. In the end it transpired that many members of the movement were not party members, while actual members involved joined the party comparatively recently.

First-Hand Information

To obtain an explanation we turned to the individual attributed with authorship of the "military doctrine", head of the SPS Creative Headquarters Leonid Gozman.

Question: Do you know of the document?

Leonid Gozman: I do, as the document is available in the Internet at www.stringer.ru.

Question: Do you think it possible for the discord between your two parties to lead to such methods of struggle one fine day?

Gozman: I hope we will never stoop to that. It will guarantee political suicide to whoever launched such a campaign.

Question: Do you admit authorship, complete or partial?

Gozman: Neither I nor my colleagues in the Union of Right-Wing Forces have anything to do with the document. That is a provocation. Take a look at the document - a copy or a barely legible photocopy. It was probably done to lend credibility. The text itself is absurd.

Question: Could the document have been prepared by some political technologists associated with the Union of Right-Wing Forces?

Gozman: That is possible. Firstly, these plans are at variance with the strategic policy of the Union of Right-Wing Forces. We regularly appeal to YABLOKO to coordinate our efforts and eventually unify. Should somebody be so irresponsible and mad as to launch a campaign like that, it will surely send our plans down the drain. As for the so-called political technologists who may pull off something similar, we always do our best to stay away from them.

Question: If the Union of Right-Wing Forces is not involved, who could have drafted the document and why?

Gozman: I'm not an investigator, how would I know? As for who possible authors, one must consider the old principle - "Look at who will profit”. The authors of the document may represent individuals who fear our potential unification or a consolidation of democratic forces, who are afraid that an alliance of democratic forces may jeopardize his political plans or personal interests. If you want my opinion as whether YABLOKO is involved, my answer is no. We may disagree on many things - and actually do, but I do not believe that anybody at YABLOKO could stoop this low. You know, I was hurt to discover that YABLOKO representatives began editing and publishing printouts of my telephone conversations.

Question: How would you explain then the coincidence of the items of plan with real events?

Gozman: There is an obvious answer - the plan was written after the events, not before them. However, there may be another explanation – both the events and the plan were prepared by the same structures, more powerful and with more authority than any election head-quarters, including both ours and YABLOKO's HQ. If this is true, this provides further proof that we should fight the enemy together, as Chubais proposed in his letter to Yavlinsky.

Second-hand information

To uncover the potential author of the provocative fraud, we tried to analyse how this plan was brought to public scrutiny.

On November 5, the weekly Stringer published fragments of such plan, and on the next day the we-site of the weekly published the first seven pages of the plan. On November 13 the website also published an article which assumed that YABLOKO and the SPS were made to fight by a third party.

The Editor-in-Chief of the weekly Elena Tokareva told us that she obtained the plan at the end of September. First she did not want to let the information out, but Leonid Gozman was attacking YABLOKO, and had also upset Tokareva. Then she published the document.

Stringer received the plan from its informants in the SPS Creative Council. The "third force which tries to make the SPS and YABLOKO quarrel” refers to the secret services, and not necessarily the state services. Asked how this was related to her receipt of the document via "her person" in the SPS Creative Council, she answered that the electoral headquarters of both parties had a large number of representatives in the secret services.

The Editor-in-Chief can have informants in the SPS. She is connected by joint work at Obschaya Gazeta with a number of SPS people.

If we look outside the secret service, there can be several variants. For a long time Stringer was connected with the ex-head of the President's Security Service Alexander Korzhakov. The wind may blow from that way, moreover Korzhakov has reasons for a special dislike of Chubais, as he lost his post due to Chubais.


YABLOKO representatives know about the existence of the plan but refused to comment. For comments we turned to PR technologists experienced in conducting election campaigns.

Iosif Diskin, member of the National Strategies Council: Our relations with Gozman are complicated but he is not a fool. That is why it is clear to me that he does not have anything to do with it. That's the height of stupidity in terms of information wars, and the Union of Right-Wing Forces does not employ stupid men. I'd rather say that the Yegor Stroyev hopes to benefit. It is common knowledge that Russians sympathize with the hurt and the downtrodden. On the other hand, I do not rule out the possibility that some third force may be involved. We will see after the election who got whose votes. It may lend us an insight into who organized appearance of the document in question.

Igor Mintusov, Niccolo M Centre of Political Consultations: I looked through this PR plan and found it quite professional. First and foremost, this is an anti-YABLOKO document. Its appearance hurts the Union of Right-Wing Forces too, but mostly YABLOKO is affected. I think that this is not a fake, but a real plan of action. If it is not a plan worked out by the Union of Right-Wing Forces, its publication can be regarded as an attempt to distract attention from the true authors, rather than the negligence of the security service.

Alexei Koshmarov, President of Novokom Center of Information and Analysis: At first sight, the plan promotes fleeting interests only, but actually it reveals an interesting trend. Pro-Westerners versus Russophiles - this conflict has been in Russia since Peter the Great. These days, the pro-Western camp comprises two parties, YABLOKO and the Union of Right-Wing Forces. Needless to say, these two parties are fighting each other. It follows that this war plan does not belong to any third force. It is a corollary of the conflict between the YABLOKO and the Union of Right-Wing Forces. Nothing more. I am convinced the plan was developed by the Union of Right-Wing Forces. The YABLOKO could not have drafted it. As a matter of fact, this is not the way it thinks in the first place.

Stanislav Belkovsky, National Strategies Council: This whole plan is a hoax. The absurdity of the items ("Yavlinsky represents a sexual minority", "is treated for AIDs), if implemented, would have the opposite result. Certainly the SPS fights against YABLOKO, and I do not even rule out that YABLOKO’s recent problems YABLOKO were due to "help" from the SPS, but the document was written after the problems emerged.

Bugged Talks

We analysed the scandalous bugged records of Leonid Gozman's phone talks. We were interested whether there was a hint in the speeches of the head of the SPS Creative Council that he had known beforehand about the search in the PR company working for YABLOKO's election campaign. From the talk about the search with an unidentified journalist.

- We would like the information to be presented in a correct light: We shall try to make some profit out of it, though I understand that this is an absolutely chance find: I mean this was really as far as I understand on the YUKOS case, and not on YABLOKO: They deny the facts, but the agency works for them.

From the talk about the search with a member of the SPS head-quarters in St. Petersburg.

- Yesterday there was a tragic event at the YABLOKO party: It is clear that they will give obtain many comments now from decent people: the intelligentsia, human rights activists, and so on. Only the Deputy Press Secretary of the Prosecutor’s office will condemn the existence of 700 thousand dollar cash [in the office of the RR agency], in other words nobody. I would like some advice from you. Are there any people of significance in St. Petersburg, intelligent people, who of course would not support the Public Prosecutor's actions, but would say that this party may be principled but has “undeclared cash” emerged?...This is very important. This can hit them hard, extremely hard. This is a box from under apples. (Ed. Allusion to the scandal with Chubais when his people carried from the head-quarters a > large amount of "undeclared cash" in a Xerox box during one of the previous election campaigns).

It is obvious from these two abstracts that the SPS Creative Head-Quarters certainly tried to exploit the situation over the thousands of dollars found in the PR agency that nobody would claim. It is also clear that Gozman did not know in advance that this would happen. For him this is an "absolutely chance find". His words indicate that he is not the author of the provocation. However, his gloating is disgusting.


See also:

State Duma elections 2003


Novaya Gazeta, November 17, 2003

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