| Question: Parties loyal to the Kremlin obtained
the absolute majority at the [parliamentary] elections [in Russia]. What
does this mean for your country?
Yavlinsky: We don't have an independent parliament any more.
For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union we again have
a one-party parliament. There are no independent mass media of any significance
any more. There is no public control over secret services and the law
enforcement agencies, there is no independent legislature. The authorities
considerably influence the elections. All elements of society are concentrated
in the same hands which resemble the 1930s. This is a semi-Soviet system.
Question: How will the domestic and the foreign policy of
the country change?
Yavlinsky: This is absolutely impossible to predict.
Question: At presidential elections in 1996 you ran against
Yeltsin and against Putin in 2000. Why don't you want to run in March
Yavlinsky: This will be not true elections. Three things
are required so that the elections could be called fair: independent courts
controlling the legitimacy of actions, an independent mass media and independent
sources of party financing. However, we lack all of these. Courts, mass
media and the finances depend on the Kremlin. The elections resemble a
football match, where the results were agreed upon beforehand. This is
inadmissible for us.
Question: What would you say to your voters if they ask
who they should vote for?
Yavlinsky: My party will only take a decision in February.
We have a very intelligent electorate. And the fact that we are not participating
in the elections and say that they are not lawful is self-explanatory.
Question: There have already been proposals to boycott
the elections. What do you think?
Yavlinsky: This depends on the situation. When in 1996
Yeltsin and Zyuganov competed in the second round, we recommended that
our electorate vote against all. Yet we decided that we don't support
Question: Why did the YABLOKO party fail to overcome the
five per cent barrier?
Yavlinsky: People in Russia are disappointed by the
poor progress of the reforms. We failed to explain to them that there
may be different reforms and that true democracy, a real market economy
and fair system can exist. It is very difficult to explain to the people
that what we have in Russia now is not a true democracy. This country
has never experienced democracy.
Question: Do you regret now that you did not conclude an
agreement with another liberal party, the SPS?
Yavlinsky: No, the decision was absolutely right. SPS
members supported the break-up of the NTV television company. They supported
the war in Chechnya. At the latest elections they supported Putin. Some
of them are responsible for the criminal privatisation in Russia. A union
with such people would be inadmissible for my voters.
Question: How outside the State Duma can YABLOKO survive
as a political party until the next elections?
Yavlinsky: This will be extremely difficult. We shall
participate in the regional elections. We should derive lessons from our
mistakes. We shall make broader coalitions.
Question: But with whom?
Yavlinsky: With civil organisations, human rights activists
and non-governmental organisations.
Question: What is your attitude to Vladimir Putin at present?
Yavlinsky: We have been in opposition to Putin's domestic
and economic policy. At the same time we have supported the central elements
of his foreign policy. But we have to wait and see what will happen after
the elections. We don't agree with Putin on many principle issues: for
Putin the state comes first, and the individual ranks second, third or
State Duma elections
Presidential elections 2004