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The Moscow Times, February 12, 2004

Liberals Take Jobs Outside Politics

By Oksana Yablokova

Two months after their painful defeat in the State Duma elections, most of the country's leading liberals have put their political ambitions on hold, with many saying they have found other jobs outside politics.

Some have accepted posts in government or private business, while others have resumed their academic careers.

The Union of Right Forces, or SPS, leader Boris Nemtsov was named a director of Kontsern Neftyanoi, a company led by Igor Linshits, an associate reported to be an SPS party sponsor, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Several leading lights in Yabloko, including party chief Grigory Yavlinsky, his deputy Sergei Ivanenko and several former deputies, such as Alexei Arbatov and Alexei Melnikov, have joined EPI Center, a think tank Yavlinsky founded in the early 1990s to generate economic programs.

The center has been largely overshadowed in recent years as most of its staffers were employed at the Duma.

Arbatov, a prominent defense and security expert, has resumed his academic career with the Academy of Sciences' Center for International Security, and on Feb. 1 also took up a post as an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center.

President Vladimir Putin asked the Duma on Wednesday to appoint former Yabloko deputy Vladimir Lukin as its human rights commissioner.

Putin wrote to the Duma naming Lukin as his candidate for the job, the presidential press service said in a statement. Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov told reporters later Wednesday that deputies would most probably vote in favor of the president's nomination.

Lukin, a foreign affairs expert who served as ambassador to the United States in 1992-93 before his election to the Duma, accepted the offer, Interfax reported.

The term of the first human rights commissioner, Oleg Mironov, expired last May, but he has stayed on as interim commissioner because the Duma has not elected a successor.

On Dec. 8, the day after the elections, when it became clear that neither Yabloko nor SPS had managed to pass the 5 percent barrier to enter the Duma as a bloc, Putin said the ideas and experience of liberal lawmakers would be in great demand. But two months after the elections, only a few former liberal deputies have found governmental jobs.

A reported exception is Yabloko's Igor Artemyev, who has been offered the post of deputy economic development and trade minister, Yabloko party spokeswoman Yevgenia Dillendorf said Wednesday.

But a ministry spokesman contacted Wednesday said that the appointment had not been finalized yet.

Another prominent Yabloko member, Valery Ostanin, has been appointed to head the personnel department of the Audit Chamber, the parliamentary watchdog of budget funds.

At least two other ex-Yabloko deputies were in talks over governmental jobs, Dillendorf said.

Former Education Committee chairman Alexander Shishlov was in talks for a job with the Education Ministry to push through education system reforms, his spokesman Mikhail Lobanov said.

Sergei Mitrokhin, a housing and utilities sector expert, was touted for a post with Gosstroi, the State Construction Committee. Mitrokhin confirmed Wednesday that he was in talks with Gosstroi, but had not received a formal job offer yet.

Boris Nadezhdin, a former SPS deputy leader, has returned to a full-time lecturing job at the Moscow Physical Technical Institute. "I have simply resumed working as a full-time lecturer and chief of the department I once founded," he said.

While he said he was in "preliminary talks" about a governmental post, he added he was reluctant to take any state job until after the presidential election.


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The Moscow Times, February 12, 2004

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