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RTR, "News of the Week", April 13, 2003

Grigory Yavlinsky: Elections can be such a hassle

Dr. Grigory Yavlinsky
Anchor: this week the results of another public opinion poll were released. It looks as if the four leaders of the forthcoming parliamentary election campaign have already been determined. According to the "Public Opinion" Fund, the main battles will take place among these political parties.

Correspondent: According to the "Public Opinion" Fund, the results of the poll of respondents who have already decided how they to express their choice during elections demonstrated that the leading positions were held by the Communist Party with 22 per cent and Unity with 21 per cent. The difference between the leaders is within a margin of error. Compared to the previous month the Unity's rating of public trust grew by one per cent. Third place is shared by [Vladimir Zhirinovsky's] LDPR and YABLOKO, each enjoying five per cent. YABLOKO also "gained some weight", as a month before it was below the critical margin at four per cent. Other parties currently do not gain the required number of votes to enter the State Duma. However, it should be borne in mind that 25% of active voters are still undecided. On April 5-6, 2003 the Public Opinion Fund polled 1,500 respondents in 100 population points in 44 regions in Russia.

Anchor: The data in the poll demonstrate that only four parties can currently enter the State Duma: United Russia, the CPRF, LDPR and YABLOKO. That is how it looks today. However, there is a large number of floating voters (25%), which means that there are still voters to fight for. I should also note that the largest changes in electoral preferences happen a few months before the elections. Therefore, the situation may change. There is enough time left. YABLOKO's positive dynamics are easy to explain. After ten years experience of working in the State Duma, the Party has built up a constant electoral base and has also garnered extensive experience in election campaigns. Our correspondent Igor Kozhevin asked Grigory Yavlinsky on his birthday what it means to be a professional politician in Russia.

Report by Igor Kozhevin:

Correspondent: There will be no celebration - that was Grigory Yavlinsky's immediate decision, as the YABLOKO finalized celebrations for his birthday. On April 10 Yavlinsky turned 51. On that same day children died in a fire in Daghestan.

Yavlinsky, Head of the YABLOKO faction in the State Duma of the RF: Can I ask you to ask me why Russia needs politicians? And let me give you the answer: Russian needs politicians to save human lives. That should be the main political goal in Russia..

Correspondent: Yavlinsky has received hundreds of telegrammes of congratulations, as well as a pair of boxing gloves, which lie on the table of his office in the Duma. The present has a meaning, as people from the faction explain. In the past Yavlinsky was junior boxing champion in Ukraine. YABLOKO's leader, however, offers his own interpretation of the meaning of the present: elections are ahead and the gloves are white.

Yavlinsky: I would like to see political battles in Russia conducted on the basis of fair and honest rules.

Correspondent: With gloves off?

Yavlinsky: With or without gloves. Above all according to the rules: you cannot have one party wearing gloves and the other party without gloves.

Correspondent: YABLOKO turns ten years this year. The forthcoming elections will be the fourth for Yavlinsky. And he has not teamed up with anyone during this period, although he did receive various proposals.

Yavlinsky: Catholics do not unite with Protestants, and neither of them united with the Russian Orthodox Church. Why not? Because the people want to be free and don't like marching together, they want to see all the hues in life: these are the nuances and specific attributes of politics.

Correspondent: He maintains businesslike relationships with the leaders of other factions. His experience as a long-standing Duma deputy has shown that politicians can't be friends. .

Yavlinsky: I have friends among my school-mates, and also with the children who attended kindergarten at the same time as I did. For some reason I feel more comfortable with them.

Correspondent: The colleagues in the State Duma who did not become friends are first of all competitors for Yavlinsky, and he has always to be on the alert with them, especially in the year of a parliamentary election campaign. YABLOKO's leader compares the elections with the Olympic Games.

Yavlinsky: If we are referring to the elections in the terms used by most people - as a PR campaign, etc and this inevitable - I would like to use one of my mother's phrases - "such a hassle".

Correspondent: When he is alone, he listens to music which distracts him from politics. The birthday presents include an album of his favourite group - the Beatles.

Yavlinsky: The Beatles help me remember that people are human, that they have problems, emotions and can feel pain.


See also:

State Duma Elections 2003

RTR, "News of the Week", April 13, 2003

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