| Twelve days before the presidential elections in Russia
the political elite switched its attention to discussion of the candidacy
proposed by Vladimir Putin for the post of Prime Minister.
What is the opinion of the political parties on the new appointment?
The CPRF and LDPR were sharply critical of Mikhail Fradkov. United Russia
which intended to propose its own prime ministerial candidate supported
the President’s choice, albeit without much enthusiasm. Deputy Head
of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO Sergei
Ivanenko told MiC about the party’s attitude to this new appointment.
Ivanenko: The appointment of Mikhail Fradkov does not represent a political
appointment. It is obvious that President Putin has formed a technical
Cabinet, which will be even more technical than Mikhail Kasyanov s Cabinet.
The latter had some relatively independent proxies and it was rumoured
that was connected with someone else besides the President. And Mikhail
Fradkov obviously will be oriented only to the President and therefore
the main decisions and essentially the entire policy, economic policy
in the first place, as well as many issues of the domestic policy will
be determined directly by the President. These are the obvious conclusions
that can be derived from this appointment.
Speaking about Mikhail Fradkov, it should be pointed out that, even
though he occupied high posts in the country, he has never been active
in politics, and time will show us his potential in terms of organisational
work and work with officialdom. It remains unclear how his work will look.
At the same time the system of balances and counter-balances will clearly
be preserved in the government. I think that the Cabinet will have Deputy
Prime Ministers who will directly communicate with the President: nothing
will change here.
In a nutshell, this is an unexpected, albeit quite logical and natural
decision within the framework of the policies conducted by the President.
Question: What about your appointment? It has been reported
that you were offered the post of Deputy Economic Development Minister.
Ivanenko: No, this information was false when Kasyanov
was in the Cabinet and now it is to early to speak about this report.
Question: Let me pose a political question. How do you think
people will vote at the [presidential] elections following calls to boycott
the elections and the possible refusal of some participants in the race
to compete any further?
Ivanenko: I think these [presidential] elections will
demonstrate a larger number of those who will not come to the polling
stations, compared to the parliamentary elections, and also I think that
the number of votes against all candidates will be higher. But it is unlikely
that this civil protest action available to the democratic forces can
encompass a system determining a systematic number of voters. This is
That is why we have drafted the following position: we will not participate
in the presidential elections, but believe that the citizens will independently
adopt a decision on the form they choose to express their attitude to
all these developments.
Question: How big is the democratic electorate today? What
are your rough estimates about its size?
Ivanenko: I cannot forecast its volume: this is impossible.
If we had honest elections or proper vote-counting, even then it would
be difficult to calculate the size of this electorate, let alone in the
Question: What are the political plans of YABLOKO?
Ivanenko: The party s plans have not changed. We are
strengthening the party even more. The number of party members has increased.
Virtually none of the party members left the party after the parliamentary
elections, except for Vladimir
Lukin who had to suspend his membership in the party in accordance
with the law (Ed. Following his appointment as ombudsman). All our branches
are functioning. We have 80,000 party members.
Secondly, we are presently conducting consultations on the formation
of broad blocs and coalitions in the regional elections. I think that
we shall continue this line at the presidential elections in 2008, gubernatorial
elections and elections to legislative assemblies. We are ready to create
a broad coalition of democratic forces and in this way influence the situation
in the country. That is why we continue working.
Question: And what are your political allies today?
Ivanenko: Our main ally is our electorate. Speaking
about politicians, we are ready to conduct consultations with a broad
circle of persons. This is an open question.
Question: Can one speak about creating a democratic coalition
Ivanenko: I think the answer has to be yes. But here
we should bear in mind that YABLOKO is one of the few, if not the only
democratic organisation in the country. You know yourself what has been
happening at the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) . This is another story.
Now they are drifting towards Chubais and Putin. YUKOS is the only single
large structure. Consequently I think that YABLOKO will become the centre
of the coalition.