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IA Marketing i Consulting, March 2, 2004

Sergei Ivanenko: The economic and political course of the government will be determined by the President.
And YABLOKO shall create a democratic coalition.

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 obvious.

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 current situation.

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 from below?

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.


See also:

Presidential elections 2004

Regional elections 2004

Democratic Coalition

IA Marketing i Consulting, March 2, 2004

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