PRESS CONFERENCE WITH YABLOKO LEADER GRIGORY YAVLINSKY, RIGHT FORCES UNION LEADER NIKITA BELYKH AND OTHERS,
INTERFAX, 14:00, NOVEMBER 1, 2005
Moderator: Good day, dear colleagues. We are beginning a press conference at Interfax. Our guest today is the leader of the Yabloko Party, Grygory Yavlinsky, SPS leader Nikita Belykh, Green Russia Party leader Alexei Yablokov, and Soldiers' Mothers Board Chairperson Svetlana Kuznetsova. The topic of the press conference is the upcoming election to the Moscow City Duma.
All of the guests will say a few words in the beginning.
Yavlinsky: Thank you for your attention. I am happy to see all of you here today. This is our first joint press conference during this campaign. It represents united democrats in the Moscow election. Our main message we wanted to relate to you is in our political declaration. It either has been handed over to you or will be presented to you now. It formulates our main political positions on key issues, it formulates our objectives in Moscow, it formulates our objectives at the federal level. We are ready to answer your questions. And it also states our political position with regard to developments in our country, as well as our goals and objectives.
As united democrats, we represent the entire range of democratic forces. We created our bloc as a result of complex, long and multilateral negotiations that involved several organizations, including those that are represented here today and those that support us and that are not here today but support us all the same. And we would like to stress that the main point we want to make here today is that we will present our common political program to you. We also have a common economic program of what needs to be done in Moscow. This is a program of concrete actions. It consists of 11 chapters, it covers such issues as the city economy, the budget, education, and healthcare. It was prepared thoroughly. It is a result of the work done by experts from all of the organizations that are represented here today.
We want to emphasize that each of our organizations is an independent organization. All partners are equal. The political declaration that has been presented to you is a result of our joint work and our joint efforts. It also applies to our common economic, social, and environmental program. A good deal of attention in our programs is paid to the creation of a modern army in Russia, a professional army, the rules of conscription, the creation of a much more productive and healthier situation in the armed forces, as well as to small business, the economy, the public sectors, the housing and utilities sector in the city.
We have common objectives, and these objectives go beyond our discussions on economic or socioeconomic problems and concern the future of the whole country. As a political bloc, we believe it necessary to say that our principal goal is to restore the validity of the Constitution of the Russian Federation in full. In this respect we think that the election in Moscow is extremely important. And our political position consists of two main parts: protection of the law and our Constitution, the restoration of democratic rules of political life in the country in full, and the improvement of life and a constructive program of changes for Muscovites and the City of Moscow. This is the essence of our position. And we are going to participate in the election based on this position.
Our view, and it was one of the key prerequisites for our consolidation, is that Moscow largely predetermines current events in Russia, and the outcome of the election in Moscow will have a big impact on the overall development of our country. This was one of the key factors that allowed us to find appropriate mechanisms for harmonizing our interests and representing them in the upcoming election.
Now I would like to turn the floor over to Nikita Belykh.
Belykh: Thank you. Dear colleagues, I will go over the structure of the document one more time. We will present two documents. One has been handed over to you. It is a political declaration. The other one is our election program. You can call it a platform. In other words, this is our plan of action for 2006- 2009. This is a rather big document. We haven't handed it over to you, but we will publish it as a separate brochure.
Grigory Alexeyevich described its contents in detail, but I will go over it again: Budget in the Service of Muscovites, Moscow without Traffic Jams, Business Moscow, Affordable Housing for Muscovites, Social Justice and Price Cuts, Safe City, Educated City, Healthy City, Clean City, Moscow as a City of Science and Culture, and Moral Atmosphere and Mercy. At the end of this stands Democratic Moscow, the issue that Grigory Alexeyevich addressed in his speech.
What brings us together is our common understanding of the fact that the agenda has changed, that it is not our perception of how the country should develop that has changed, but the situation itself has changed. Roughly speaking, democracy has frozen, much the same way as computers do. In other words, it needs to be reloaded as soon as possible. So, you can say that we have a "democracy reloaded" kind of project. We think by creating a joint list of candidates we reload democracy in the country, and we begin it in Moscow. In addition to Moscow we are forming joint lists in several regions, but Moscow will be a priority this year in terms of information coverage and political importance.
We do different studies and conduct sociological and focus group polls, and we were surprised to find out how little Muscovites know about what is happening to democracy. It turned out that a large number of Muscovites do not know that they will no longer elect the mayor. They have heard that governors will be appointed, but they didn't extrapolate this to Moscow. This is why one of the mottos of our campaign is to restore mayoral elections. We think this is one of the fundamental principles of democracy and one of the fundamental approaches that we as a united democratic opposition bloc should proclaim.
Moreover, we have already run into technical problems while trying to place billboards with our mottos. We are simply denied permission under the pretext of different verbal instructions.
I think that now we should allow our colleagues from the combined democratic list to speak. After that, in a Q&A session, we will comment on certain remarks and statements.
Yavlinsky: Svetlana Alexeyevna, the floor is yours.
Kuznetsova: I am pleased a lot that at long last those strong and big parties have united. We are pleased that the Green Russia and Soldiers Mothers have been invited to take part in the December 4 election. We strongly hope that after the election, during the election campaign, Muscovites will come to realize that they should be proud by some other things than that Moscow is a very expensive city, that they should be proud to have Moscow as an affordable city to live in, that laws that do exist will work and that at long last, through joint efforts, we will be able to attain our main goal and start shifting to a professional army. Thank you.
Yablokov: I represent the Green Russia party. We are saying that we, our party, ecologists are in the center of the political spectrum. Still, we have decided to join this united democratic coalition, because it is really, it looks like time has come to reload, using the term Nikita used. We have to deal with this problem, after which we will be able to resolve other problems. Even though, naturally, our environmental program is by far -- we have our own environmental program for the city of Moscow. We have a lot to say.
On the one hand, we admit that quite a lot has been accomplished in Moscow, substantially more than in other cities. I have been touring the country. Today I returned from Yekaterinburg. I visited Chelyabinsk yesterday. Moscow looks better than Chelyabinsk, for instance.
But densely built structures, areas under greenery tend to be reduced. The amount of greenery per Muscovite is half the amount we used to have 15 years ago, but I have to admit that we have more flowerbeds. It certainly looks beautiful, but it turns out that this beauty, behind this beauty, there are changes posing real threats to every one of us. There is a direct link between the health of Muscovites and the state of the environment. But this hasn't been taken into account. On the contrary, they are telling us: "Why should you do that? You should not." But we want to do it.
The problem of animals in the city. It has not been dealt with properly. The problem of waste has not been dealt with the way we want it to be resolved in Moscow for the city to really become a clean city.
So, we have a lot to say. And by joining this big list, I hope that an impetus will be given, we will be able to set an example for the whole country. Something has to be done about it. We cannot do it alone. Let us unite. Thank you.
Moderator: We are passing on to questions.
Q: You represent four known democratic forces, but in the context of the Moscow City Duma election and, perhaps, in the context of prospects for the future, is it possible that some other forces may join you? In particular, the Republican Party? As far as I know, Svetlana Anatolyevna had some contacts with them. What about Kasparov? What does he think of all that? Irina Khakamada, who has kept low profile recently? What are the prospects for the widening of the spectrum of forces?
Yavlinsky: Let me start. Well, this is the first step towards the creation of the united democratic opposition. The united democratic list for the Moscow City Duma election is the first step. More steps will be made.
We have no doubt that all democratic organizations, in some or other measure, will provide support. As I have said already, they have all, including those you have mentioned, taken part in our discussions and talks. As far as I know, in various forms, with various considerations, with various proposals, yet they all represent a wide bloc of democratic forces, which during this election has this makeup, the four democratic organizations that have been presented to you.
We believe that the process of unification of democratic forces, the beginning to which we have laid and which we have long spoken about, will continue. In the future, we certainly intend to hold all possible consultations so this coalition would further widen. This has been prompted by legislation adopted in Russia, this has been prompted by objective requirements and circumstances.
We proceed from the assumption that all will retain their independence, their own face. We intend to find an appropriate combination of our common interests. But in the main aspects, as we have noted already, and this is the main point in this political declaration, we are all united and this is principally important. We will hold debates and discussions on many program issues, economic and social issues, other issues, but on the key political issues we have common understanding of the goals and objectives related to ways to make Russia a prosperous country in economic terms, a free and modern country.
And we are confident that our political declaration will undoubtedly be supported by our colleagues in any democratic parties and civil organizations.
Belykh: I spent this morning with Ryzhkov and Zubov. We discussed those problems. In the end, I asked them: Would you support our list? Are you ready to state this?
Yes, Messrs Ryzhkov and Zubov said, it would be better to have a wider list. They believe that it would be more appropriate for federal level politicians to be at the top of the list, but they regarded it as the right first step and are ready to support it.
So, I cannot tell what Garry Kasparov thinks, but at least the Republican Party of Russia flatly told me that they are ready to support our list. I find this a very good and appropriate statement, especially if this is made and registered officially.
Kuznetsova: For 16 years, the Union of Soldiers Mothers Committees, since its inception, has cooperated with all democratic parties and progressive public organizations sharing our main goal of the creation of a professional army. I hope that the unification that has started will acquire a bigger scale and pick up pace so by 2007 we would have a huge democratic party or organization.
Yablokov: Perhaps my answer will be too long. We are a new party. Like Soldiers Mothers, we have problems having registered with the Justice Ministry, and we look at Soldiers Mothers with envy and say: The Defense Minister just has a couple more statements to make and they will have 150,000 members, rather than 100,000.
The same is happening about the Kremlin. A couple more laws like Law 122 and absolutely all democrats -- they will make us all unite, all of us, 15 or 20 parties will unite.
What is happening now, the fact that we, representatives of four parties are sitting here -- this is not the only thing that is happening. Let me cite another example. The IAEA recently published an awful report timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. I have appealed to the leaders of many political parties. Seven political parties have signed this statement to protest the IAEA. We were able to find common language immediately. There were the Republicans, the Party in Support of Science, many other parties. I think this process of democratic consolidation is under way, it is inevitable, and it is a natural response to the Kremlin's politics.
Q: Since the political declaration that you handed over looks more like a draft plan of your consolidation in 2007, I would like to know when Muscovites will be able to take a look at the practical election program of SPS and Yabloko.
Yavlinsky: As soon as the campaign begins and we can publish the documents that may be regarded as electioneering. We will publish the program immediately and make it available to Muscovites. Those who are most interested are invited personally learn more about the program immediately after this press conference. I think Nikita Yuryevich will do it better than others.
Q: You said you prepared the program together. Did you divide the sections somehow and if yes, how exactly you did that and who wrote what?
Yavlinsky: I hope you have our political declaration. It was written as follows. If you should know the process itself -- we are pleased that you want to know the details, but at first we wrote a political text. Then each member of our coalition studied this political text. For example, Alexei Vladimirovich proposed our objectives in Moscow and our objectives at the federal level, as well as some of the paragraphs. I found them very valuable, I mean this division into Moscow objectives and federal objectives. After that we had discussions on how to fill these sections with the most important objectives. Then we discussed the succession in which these objectives should be stated. Perhaps, it's not the most important issue, but we discussed it.
Besides, it was very important for us to raise questions pertaining to a professional army. We spelled out some of the problems connected with corruption, bribery and nepotism in Moscow. I, Nikita Yuryevich, Alexei Vladimirovich, and Svetlana Alexeyevna worked on the preamble that was very important to us because it formulated very precisely our vision of the current political situation in the country. We regard this election as an important political event that will be directly related to the elections in 2007 and 2008.
Belykh: To use mathematical terms, this is very close to the iteration method, i.e. all the documents that appear on behalf of the election bloc and united democrats are reconsidered after amendments.
Yavlinsky: Several times.
Belykh: And several times in a broad format. This may be less effective in terms of organization and may create delays, but I think that this is the only format in which we can prepare documents and which consists of four political parties so that no one could say that one party expressed an opinion that was at odds with other political parties and so on.
Yavlinsky: I want to stress once again that we are absolutely equal. Events show that we can take into account the interests of all members of this coalition. It doesn't take a lot of intelligence to create a coalition against something, it's very easy. But it takes political art to create a coalition with a constructive program.
Q: I have a question to Messrs. Belykh and Yavlinsky that is a bit off the topic. A new holiday, Day of Unity, will be celebrated for the first time on Friday. And also for the first time we will not mark the anniversary of the revolution. What do you think about this change? And another question. The discussion on the reburial of Lenin has been revived lately. Is it relevant now that we are going to celebrate the unity of Russia or not?
Belykh: I think Grigory Alexeyevich will begin because we have talked about this quite a lot this past week. I think he has something personal with Poles.
Yavlinsky: Number one, I think it's very good that Russia has stopped celebrating the Bolshevik coup. It's a positive change. The refusal to celebrate the forced seizure of power in the country and the coup that dominated Russia's life for 80 years is a very good step forward.
Number two, November 4 is a day -- Poles don't matter here, of course. What does matter is that this is the first and perhaps the only serious manifestation of civil society in Russia in many years. As historians say, the prince was a rather formal figure in those events, everything was done by a citizen in Russia, and it was a citizens' movement. I think all of our neighbors should be happy that Russia at last celebrates a citizens' holiday, not the Bolshevik coup.
But we had reasons to say in our opening remarks that we emphasize the protection of the Constitution. As we know, Constitution Day has been abolished, and this is important. That we will not celebrate November 7 any more is not so important. But that Constitution Day has been abolished is an important sign, it speaks of the attitude toward the Constitution among United Russia and those who made this decision. This is very significant, and we say that our goal is to protect the Russian Constitution and its main provisions.
The problem of Russia, among other things, is also that Russia has never in its entire history complied with its Constitution and laws. Our bloc is a bloc that will do its best to ensure compliance with the Russian Constitution and Russian laws. We need to start doing it some day. So, we want to create a political force that will make all bureaucracy, all officials, and all top structures in Russia obey laws and the Constitution.
As for your last question, it should be done but only if it doesn't cause social upheavals, if it doesn't cause clashes and repressions. If it does cause such reactions, then our children and grandchildren should do it. They will do it calmly. But there is no doubt that the burial would be the right thing to do.
Belykh: I may be wrong, but I think Igor Guberman wrote this: Constitution Day reminded me of an old portrait of my grandmother, the portrait hangs in the living room, but the grandmother is long gone.
So, I wouldn't want November 4 to be something like this portrait because immortalizing the triumph of civil society is a good idea, but it would be good, first, not to have this instead of the Constitution, and, second, it would be good if the authorities were concerned about the role of civil society not only on formal occasions.
Besides, this looks like it is done for a show. That is, I believe that the authorities cannot care less about civil society, yet they have tried to energetically promote November 4 as a holiday of civil society, which is somewhat inaccurate.
As for burying Vladimir Lenin, I share Grigory Alexeyevich's view. This has to be done. Whether we do it or our children will do it -- the sooner this is done the better. I hope to live to see this happening. But again, the main thing is to avoid a war.
Yablokov: I don't know if I should say this or should not, but whether or not this burial will take place is not too important for me. If this does happen, let it be. If this causes a split in society, this should not be done. Actually, we have lots of other problems to deal with, more important problems. If this does not split society, let us do it. I stand for burying him properly.
Yavlinsky: In fact, it is just a symbol. Symbols and artificial tricks should not replace the subject matter. What is really important is eliminating Bolshevism and Stalinism from Russian politics. And this has nothing to do with the way that problem is formally resolved: when that body will be buried.
Transformation of Stalinism in the past 50 years is really a big problem. The fact that elements of Stalinism and Bolshevism still remain in Russian politics is really a serious problem. One of our objectives -- this is why we have done, as Nikita has said, have drawn up a special section, Democratic Moscow. This is why Alexei Vladimirovich spoke about our objectives in Moscow. This is why Svetlana Alexeyevna has noted that it is very important to make sure that Moscow supports the creation of a professional army. This is particularly why we set the goal of weeding out Bolshevism from Russian politics. Bolshevism in Russian politics means that goals justify the means, that people are just waste, building material for attaining certain "great" goals.
Q: I have one question for Nikita Belykh and another one for Grigory Yavlinsky. Nikita Yuryevich, you have used an interesting term "reloading democracy". Aren't you afraid, while reloading it, reloading the system, that several versions are being reloaded? I mean the following. The Yabloko party, your ally in this coalition, has recently engaged in joint activities with Eduard Limonov's National Bolshevik party. Before it adopted a new program, last year, perhaps, which really contains a lot of good and right words about democracy and civil society, the NBP's 1994 program was really a fascist program. Moreover, it has not been repealed. They coexist, so to say.
And a question for Grigory Alexeyevich. Last week Young Russia held a press conference. There were two participants, one a Young Russia member and the other one was a party supporter. They accused Yabloko's security service of having battered them, humiliated them and having voiced threats. Is that true? How could you comment?
Belykh: As for whether or not something scares me, no. Anyway, that reload may only bring in certain viruses, but it is also known that certain data may be lost as a result of reload. Unfortunately, this is objective reality. It is like reforms cannot be painless. Reload, particularly reload of democracy and reload of democracy in Russia cannot go smoothly.
Grigory Alexeyevich has noted that we are independent political parties. If we have the creation of a united democratic party on the agenda in 2006 or 2007, we will very attentively analyze whom we will invite to join that party, what political associations, public organizations, those planning to join this party.
At the moment, I believe that they are issues that are not priorities for our election bloc formed for the Moscow City Duma election. As for interaction between Yabloko and NBP, Grigory Alexeyevich may answer that. At the moment, I cannot see any threat posed by that interaction to our united democratic bloc in part of the Moscow City Duma election.
Yavlinsky: As far as I understand, you represent the Pravda.ru newspaper?
Q: It is not a newspaper, it is published on the Internet.
Yavlinsky: I just wanted to remind you that the Pravda daily has had a very complex history in this country. The very name of it. The main reprisals in the country were launched by Pravda. Pravda's service to our country has been rather dubious. We also have Komsomol newspapers, very popular ones. It turns out that Pravda is still alive. But if one takes a look at what Pravda wrote in 1937, one will be struck by what was written then.
As for your question, no, this is not true. No one has ever beaten those young individuals. We just talked to them, gave them our party publications to read and they were pleased to leave.
Q: A question for Nikita Belykh and Grigory Yavlinsky. What do you think about a criminal case launched against Oleg Kiselyov, ex- chief of Renaissance Capital? Do you see any parallels? My second question is for Alexei Yablokov. According to reports in the press, the level of radiation is too high and the situation is unfavorable in Krasnokamensk where Khodorkovsky serves his sentence. Do you know anything about that?
Belykh: As for Oleg Kiselyov, I have many times states that there is no question as to whether or not business will be persecuted in this country. It will be. The question is: who will be the next one? This explains why in my remarks during the congress of the Union of Right Forces, I spoke about the need to bring business back into politics, public politics. What is happening today just means that business in this country is a very dangerous job, unless you have pledged loyalty to United Russia, the Kremlin and personally the President.
Under those conditions, any businessman who has not done this, and even those who have done it, yet not so zealously and energetically, are under threat. Unfortunately, I am convinced that the Kiselyov case is not the last one in the history of modern Russia.
Yavlinsky: I wanted to say a few words on what the young man asked about this reload, which Nikita Yuryevich so interestingly presented today, in my opinion. We have powerful anti-virus software, made in this country.
Over 15 years in politics, we can easily tell viruses from everything else. So, everything that is useful and reasonable will be integrated, and everything malicious will be rejected.
Belykh: We wish we had less spam.
Yavlinsky: Indeed, we have more problems with spam, and this is something for you to address. We will hold a press conference on this issue. I don't know all the details of the Oleg Kiselyov case, but I think Shokhin's statement is worth studying. I have known Kiselyov as a businessman for many years, and I have never thought he could have such problems.
I want to support the position stated by Nikita Yuryevich and emphasize this. The economic system that has been created in Russia is based on the merger of business and power, and all conflicts over control of property involve the law enforcement system that is controlled by authorities. It's a malignant cell in our political, social and economic system, this is something impedes the modernization of the country, something that stalls its development. This is a result of the merger of business and power that occurred after a number of decisions in the middle of the 1990s.
Government control of business is a key problem. Those who lived in the Soviet Union prior to 1990 know that there used to be a body called Gosplan, or the State Planning Committee. Today our government reminds me more and more of that Gosplan when a small group of people usurps the right to manage, control and seize the results generated by major economic assets of the country. These are federal problems, of course, and they are addressed in our political declaration. We need a serious and responsible policy to overcome the consequences of the situation that was created after the reforms in the 1990s. This is a critical problem to address instead of resorting to individual repressions or chasing one oligarch after another.
Yablokov: The lady who asked a question about Krasnokamensk is gone, but I will answer it all the same. Indeed, there is a large uranium ore field in the Chita region, and it has been developed for years. About 7-8 or even 12 years ago we said that the environmental situation around that field is not good. Krasnokamensk and Pervomaisk are red lights in the environmental map of the country. And I think the correctional institution where Khodorkovsky is now is affected to some extent, too. But I don't know how dangerous it may be. But on the whole, that area is environmentally hazardous.
Q: A question to all of you. One of the objectives stated in the declaration, it appears under number 3 says: "ensuring the independence of the City Duma from Moscow and federal bureaucracy. A Russian-German report on bureaucracy in Russia was released today, and strangely enough, Russian and German sociologists came to a conclusion that the population included deputies into bureaucracy. You want to get elected to the Moscow City Duma, and I have two questions to ask of you. Are you going to fight bureaucracy after election? And don't you fear to become new bureaucracy, as the people of Russia apparently think, judging from the latest poll.
Yavlinsky: It will depend on how many seats democrats will get in the Moscow City Duma and how many seats United Russia will have. If the scenario announced by Boris Gryzlov comes true, and United Russia has 35 out of 35 seats, then I think there will be no deputies there at all. It will be an obedient body consisting of bureaucrats.
If there are people who are not controlled by any center and who make independent decisions, and that's the people we nominated are like, these are people who have their own point of view, like Mr. Katayev or Mr. Bunimovich, or Mr. Novitsky, who have long been working there, and who have won the respect of independent professionals, then they may adopt laws that will eliminate intermediaries in Moscow, ban bureaucratic lawlessness in Moscow, and this is a civilized and the most important aspect of the fight against bureaucracy. It is self-implementing laws, control over the implementation of the budget and over law enforcement agencies.
The Moscow City Duma has very many problems. There are only 35 seats for 10 million Muscovites. The election barrier is 10 percent, and the minimal turnout is 20 percent. Anyone who studied mathematics or statistics knows that such a body cannot be a representative body at all. And yet we think that it is very important politically to take part in this election as in a referendum in order to allow Muscovites to say how much they agree, for example, with the abolition of mayoral elections or the current trends. And resistance to bureaucracy is one of the important objectives.
Belykh: It is very important that action follows words. We have documents showing who voted in the Moscow City Duma and how. And we do not feel ashamed of our deputies. If we say that the mayor should be elected, it's not a trick designed to win the popularity of voters. We simply know that only Yabloko and SPS deputies insisted in the Moscow City Duma that the mayor must be elected. There were no others who did that. This is borne out by the results of the vote that are available to the public.
I would like to use this opportunity to say that Moscow City Duma deputy Katayev and State Duma deputy Khovanskaya will hold a press conference next week or within the next few days to speak about new bills and the results of hearings on the status of deputies. It will provide an opportunity to present our vision and our opinion about the status of deputies. And you will have an opportunity to compare if this is new bureaucracy or not.
Q: What about the housing policy and reconstruction in Moscow?
Yablokov: I just want to say that the election process, the preparation of the election and the election itself are very important for environmentalists because it gives us a rare opportunity to speak to the public. We cry, we want Muscovites to know what we advocate, we want Muscovites to know about the existence of cancer houses where people die from cancer, but no one writes about that. There are many things we want to say to Muscovites. And the preparation of the election and the election itself give us such an invaluable opportunity because we have no access to information. While in the past government reports used to be relatively small, yet informative: on the environment, on the population's health. They are now much thicker and much less informative. Like in Soviet times, we have to read between the lines. This is yet another factor prompting us to take part in this election campaign.
Q: In what way are you going to divide mandates? -- (inaudible) -- the successor operation -- (inaudible) -- potential scenarios?
Belykh: As for division of seats, our principle is in line with legislation, namely, we have two candidates in the general city section of our list. They are Novitsky and Bunimovich. Then, there are 15 so-called regional baskets, regional lists. If it so happens that our voters energetically cast votes for this united democratic list and we get more seats in the Duma, those at the top of the regional lists getting more votes will become Duma members. That's simple. No tricks.
As for who is at the top of those district lists, this information is open and accessible. So, we find it hard to predict how those votes will be divided in fact.
As for the successor operation, perhaps, Grigory Alexeyevich will say.
Yavlinsky: We have a certain division of duties. I am to focus on those issues. So, the point is that we are convinced that in 2007, on the eve of 2008 election, Russian democratic forces will have a presidential candidate. Naturally, the choice of our candidate will be made when time comes. But this will certainly happen and democratic forces of Russia will nominate their candidate and support that candidate. It will not be the way it was last time. This won't do.
Belykh: I regret to say it but Nikita Belykh will not be that candidate.
Q: On the United Russia list, there are quite a lot of those who used to be Yabloko and SPS members. Would you like to convey a certain message to them via the mass media or do you regard them as lost ones for your cause?
Yavlinsky: We want to wish them health and happiness in their family lives.
Belykh: Creative, rather than political success.
Q: -- (inaudible) --
Yavlinsky: I find it hard to understand your question, but I will try to answer the way I understand it. With all candidates we used the following technology. The congress of the Union of Right Forces, as far as I know, formed its own list, just in case.
Moreover, I have to tell you so you would understand that Yabloko, naturally, also had its own list just in case we failed to reach accords. Both parties are responsible parties, and they have existed for more than a decade in Russia. We are accountable to our voters and we were ready for various scenarios.
When we reached accords, we held all required consultations, we contacted all those who were nominated. Moreover, SPS representatives named those of their list who should be considered as candidates for our common list.
For example, Dmitry Katayev is present here. We discussed with him which constituency he should run in. The same with Mr. Plotnikov, which constituency he would prefer. Ms Shargatova, we have discussed it with her. So, we have five representatives.
As for one-mandate constituencies, we have tried to do everything possible. Nomination of those candidates proved impossible for financial reasons, because legislation is absurd today. It was introduced intentionally and makes it impossible to work in one-mandate constituencies. In fact, we find the list more important in political terms than winning in separate one-mandate constituencies. If someone is elected there, we wish all of them success and we will support them in one-mandate constituencies. But particularly important is a chance to form our own faction and pursue our political course. If there is one City Duma member elected, that will be what we have.
I cannot see any other meaning in your question. Here is my answer.
Belykh: Do I get it right that you are concerned about uneven distribution of candidates in regional lists?
Q: Uneven. Those who were nominated by SPS -- (inaudible) --
Belykh: Let us put it this way. There are two aspects. First, when we understand that we can only get two, three or four seats, at best, discussing why there are six SPS representatives and 18 candidates representing Yabloko is absurd. Let us call a spade a spade. We realize that on those regional lists only one or two individuals can really get Duma seats.
You should have no doubt that we have very attentively analyzed all those regional baskets and parity is observed.
As for why our candidates did not fill the vacancies, that's my fault. Let me say that the preparation of the congress and the Moscow conference proceeded in such a manner that some of the organizational questions were not solved. Indeed, this could have been done at the Moscow Conference if relevant agreements had been reached. At least the sides showed their intention, but this didn't happen. And I want to apologize to the candidates who were nominated. We understand that they had no chance of success, and we are now using them to the utmost in the election campaign as election agents.
Q: Speaking at a meeting of the party's General Council in July, you said, I am quoting, "we tried to build a coalition with the Union of Right Forces, but unfortunately, they had failed at the regional elections. More than 3 percent. And we couldn't create such a coalition." So, what makes you think now that this coalition will be productive and successful?
Yavlinsky: First of all, we have seen more encouraging examples since then, for example, in Tomsk. Besides, what gives us hope is that this is happening in Moscow. There have never been elections by party lists in Moscow before, and candidates were elected in single- mandate constituencies. With all our inter-party discussions, we could always reach an agreement on how to divide these constituencies among ourselves, and we always did because we understand that Moscow is special. The same is in every region.
Tomsk is a city of universities and institutes, and it was easier to do it there. If we announce a joint election in Chelyabinsk tomorrow under the banner of environmental protection, because the world's most polluted city is located outside Chelyabinsk --
Yablokov: I was told yesterday that Chelyabinsk is ready to give 30,000 people for the Green Party.
Yavlinsky: And if we come together under the banner of the Greens, it will be the right thing to do. So, it really depends on where you conduct an election. Besides, we pursue political objectives in Moscow, and with all our peculiarities, we do have common views. These include a multiparty system, compliance with laws, the freedom of mass media, the independence of the judicial system and the parliament, the separation of business from power, the creation of real economic arbitration, the inviolability of private ownership rights. These things bring us together, and these are the main things.
Belykh: Besides, one can marry by love or by necessity. In Moscow our alliance with Grigory Alexeyevich is by love. And I do hope that the creation of our bloc and our coalition is a well- thought out decision made after hours and days of discussions, and I do hope that this coalition has totally new prospects.
Moreover, I think that other coalitions in other regions where elections are pending, like Ivanovo, Kostroma, and Novosibirsk regions, where we will also be running together, they also have totally new prospects. One can analyze situations where we didn't receive the necessary number of votes, but I think only history can be the real judge here. In other words, I hope that history will be on our side in December.
Moderator: Thank you.