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All-Russia Public Political Organisation Yabloko

The democratic opposition evolved after the shooting of the Supreme Soviet of People’s Deputies in 1993 and became an opposition to the methods of reforming Russia’s economy conducted by President Yeltsin and the governments of Yegor Gaidar and Viktor Chernomyrdin. The Yabloko bloc was formed for participation in the parliamentary elections of 1993 (elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation). As a legal entity the bloc was created and founded by three personal founders (Grigory Yavlinsky, Yuri Boldyrev and Vladimir Lukin – the first letters of their surnames make the beginning of the word “Yabloko”) and three political parties: the Republican Party of the Russian Federation, the Social-Democratic Party of the Russian Federation and the “Party of Russia’s Christian-Democratic Union – the New Party”. The bloc also acquired such a “non-political name” because its founders decided that if the liberal democrats of Russia were represented, in title only, by Vladimir Zhrinovsky with his Liberal-Democratic Party (LDPR), and “democratic choice” by Yegor Gaidar with his projected reforms for the minority, the name Yabloko (which means “apple” in Russian) would reflect the intention of making life normal. Lawyers, academics, doctors and entrepreneurs formed the backbone of the bloc.

The staff of Center for Economic and Political Research (EPIcenter) founded by Grigory Yavlinsky and his colleagues, including the co-authors of the “500 Days” programme who together with Grigory Yavlinsky resigned from the government of the Russian Federation in 1991, as well as members of the Institute of Humanitarian and Political Studies (headed by Vyacheslav Igrunov) who developed the political concept, played a special role in the formation of this bloc. A considerable contribution was made by experts on international affairs, whose most prominent representative was Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s Ambassador to the USA at that time.

The election campaign of the bloc was based on the principles of consolidating the statehood of Russia, consistent democracy “without violence and extra-ordinary situations”, reforms of the economic system and public accord. Yabloko criticised the draft Constitution of the Russian Federation that was subject to a nation-wide referendum. The basic law of the country was adopted in the haste of a election campaign and without broad public discussion. The results of such a hasty adoption are still affecting Russia’s life today.

In 1993 Yabloko set as its goal the election of as many of its people as possible into the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (Russia’s parliament) who value “the ways and means of achieving their goals no less than these goals, who did not seek to stir up conflicts and hatred,” professional economists, lawyers and social scientists. “We should avoid the mistakes of the notorious Congress and the Supreme Soviet and prevent the emergence of a “pocket” parliament, an appendix of the executive authority.” (from the Declaration on the Creation of an Electoral Association on October 25, 1993).

During the 1993 parliamentary elections the bloc obtained 4.233.219 votes (7.86%) and 20 places in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament – the State Duma – in the single federal electoral district. Another seven deputies were elected according to the majority system in the territorial electoral districts. In total Yabloko obtained 27 seats in the first State Duma .

The Public Association Yabloko was created on January 5-6, 1995 at the First Congress of the Yabloko Association. Representatives of 53 subjects of the Russian Federation and 28 deputies of the Federal Assembly announced the creation of an association of a democratic opposition to the socio-economic and political course of the Russian authorities. The Congress elected Grigory Yavlinsky Chairman of the Association, Yuri Boldyrev and Vladimir Lukin two Deputy Chairmen, the Federal Council (later the Central Council, about 50 people) and Bureau of the Federal Council (later Bureau of the Central Council, 15 people).

At the parliamentary elections in 1995 Yabloko received 4.7 million votes (6.89%). Yabloko was one of the four blocs (out of a total of 43 registered blocs) that managed to overcome a 5% barrier and obtained 31 mandates in the Duma. Another 15 deputies were elected via one-mandate electoral districts. Thus, the number of Yabloko’s deputies totalled 46.

At the presidential elections of 1996 Yabloko’s candidate Yavlinsky secured 5.48 million votes and came fourth, after Boris Yeltsin, Gennadi Zyuganov and Alexander Lebed. The Fifth Congress of the Yabloko Association (1996) adopted a decision on the gradual transformation of the Yabloko association into a party. The Sixth Congress introduced several amendments to Yabloko’s by-laws setting the candidate’s term for all the applicants to Yabloko’s membership for 12 months. On March 1, 1999 the provision of the by-laws forbidding simultaneous membership of Yabloko and other political organisations came into force.

At the parliamentary elections of 1999 conducted during the difficult conditions of the military campaign in Chechnya Yabloko preserved its electoral base obtaining 5.93%.

At presidential elections in March 2000, Yabloko’s candidate Yavlinsky came third after Vladimir Putin and Gennadi Zyuganov, obtaining 5.85%.


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