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RIA "Novosti", July 3, 2004

Yavlinsky: YABLOKO is ready to cooperate with left-wing parties

MOSCOW, July 3 (RIA Novosti) -"YABLOKO" is ready to hold out its hand to left-wing parties, the YABLOKO political party's leader Grigory Yavlinsky said in his speech to delegates of the YABLOKO congress being held in Moscow Region.

"YABLOKO is ready to cooperate with those who affiliate themselves with the left wing of the political spectrum," he said. "Yet, there is a borderline - we will never accede to any kind of alliances with those who approve and propagate the methods employed by Stalin, Beria or Lenin," Yavlinsky pointed out.

According to him, YABLOKO "shares many views of the social democratic platform, and the party's alignment with the latter has become even more prominent lately".

Yavlinsky also said that the democratic coalition currently being set up by YABLOKO is flanked by "semi-criminal and semi-political organisations on the one side" and "groups of easily manipulated yes-men planted in the current political environment like a Trojan horse".

Yavlinsky pointed out that the democratic coalition should comprise "genuine democrats" and that YABLOKO was ready to do everything within its power to ensure that the next State Duma (Russia's lower house of parliament) has an effective faction of the country's united democrats.

Speaking on the format of the projected democratic coalition, YABLOKO's first deputy leader Sergei Ivanenko who took the floor after Yavlinsky said that YABLOKO should be the core of this coalition and that at present YABLOKO "is in dialogue with the country's renowned public figures".

"YABLOKO is going to create a coalition of democratic forces who have not tarnished their reputation through involvement in the reforms in the 1990s", Ivanenko told journalists.

"I am not talking about a mechanical conglomeration of the so-called "democrats", but rather the creation of a coalition based on a viable joint political platform," Ivanenko said.

In his opinion, "the developments in Russia since 1992" culminated in the defeat of Russia's democratic forces at the most recent parliamentary elections".

Ivanenko pointed out that the democratic coalition was not going to sit on the fence awaiting the next parliamentary and presidential elections (due in 2007 and 2008 respectively); its candidates would play an active role at next year's regional elections.

On Saturday, YABLOKO held the second part of its congress in the settlement of Moskovski (Moscow Region). The first part of the congress took place last December. The delegates planned to discuss the party's political platform in the new conditions following YABLOKO’s failure to make it to the State Duma.

"Our objective is to survive now and win at the next elections," YABLOKO's first deputy leader Ivanenko told RIA Novosti on Saturday. "I should say that so far Russia's post-Soviet political history has not witnessed a single precedent when a political party defeated at parliamentary elections has managed to remain afloat," Ivanenko added.

The poll conducted by the Public Opinion Fund prior to the congress disclosed results that are hardly promising for the party's political future. Only 2% of the 1,500 people polled by the Fund in 44 regions of Russia believe that YABLOKO will be a strong political party at the next
parliamentary elections, with 80% of the respondents ruling out any chance that they might vote for YABLOKO in 2007.

No changes in the party's leadership are expected to occur at the congress. At the same time, the party's decision-making bodies are going to be substantially expanded to make the party's administration more democratic and encourage an inflow of new members. As things stand now, the party's leadership sees no alternative figures capable of replacing Yavlinsky at the helm.

"Alternative candidates may be proposed but only for the purpose of taking the floor at the congress. Yavlinsky is bound to remain YABLOKO's leader," Ivanenko said.

At YABLOKO's December congress, some delegates sought to bring up the issue of the leadership's personal responsibility for YABLOKO’s defeat at the elections. In the end, however, the majority voted against the inclusion of this item in the agenda.

The current congress will discuss the possibilities for setting up a viable democratic coalition. YABLOKO has been holding talks on joining forces with other democratic movements to put together (under the auspices of the Committee - 2008) a common list of democratic candidates at the next parliamentary elections. At a recent congress of the Union of Right-Wing Forces political party, its leader, Anatoly Chubais, again called on YABLOKO to "extend hands toward each other".


See also:

the 12th Congress of YABLOKO

RIA "Novosti", July 3, 2004

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