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Novaya Gazeta, December 25, 2003

Grigory Yavlinsky: a Potyomkin village has been systematically built in Russia.

Question: Many people have been surprised to learn that Yabloko will not take part in the presidential elections and that you will not be running for president. What were the party's reasons for this decision?

Grigory Yavlinsky: The reason is that elections have ceased to be even relatively democratic - honest, equal, or fair. With no judiciary independent from the administration, no independent mass media, no independent sources of funding, there cannot be real political competition - and that is the essence of elections.

Participation in the presidential election now can only be decorative. That is not acceptable for me.The parliamentary election campaign and its dubious outcome proved that things cannot go on like this. What's more, during the parliamentary campaign the politically active part of the businesscommunity was crushed; no business leader will now dare to contribute any money to political parties without the Kremlin's permission. The present system has no place for real political competition.

Question: What do you expect to happen to your party?

Grigory Yavlinsky: The same as the rest of the country. For example, a decorative pseudo-democratic party might be created; or there could be a campaign to destroy us, as the NTV network was destroyed. It is highly unlikely that we will be left in peace to prepare for the next elections. Everything should become clear over the next year.

Question: You've said that a one-party Duma has been created. But the Communist Party is also there.

Grigory Yavlinsky: In formal terms, yes. But suppose we take five people from each of the Duma factions, place them in separate rooms, and ask them a few key questions on vital policy issues. What should be done in Chechnya? How about military reforms? How about education and health care? How can we dismantle robber capitalism? What should our relations with Europe and America be like? The answers in those separate rooms would essentially be the same, since all these people hold similar views on life in general and on Russia.

A pseudo-multiparty parliament, pseudo-free and pseudo-honest elections, pseudo-fair courts, pseudo-independent media... A Potyomkin village has been systematically built in Russia.

Question: Do you think this will be the case for a long time to come?

Grigory Yavlinsky: Events are developing so rapidly that anyone who thinks this will last for a long time is greatly mistaken. Yet it will seem like a long time to you and me, no doubt.


See also:

State Duma elections 2003

Presidential elections 2004

Novaya Gazeta, December 25, 2003

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