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Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Nail in Russia's Coffin: Yavlinsky Just Won't Go Away

Grigory Yavlinsky (pictured) is one of those people who, when all is said and done on the neo-Soviet Union, will be remembered as one whose actions were more harmful than helpful in combating its rise. Just as he refused to make common cause with liberal Boris Nemtsov in the first round of democratic opposition to the Kremlin, he now rejects cooperation with Garry Kasparov. Yet, it's been clear from the start that Yavlinsky is not capable of winning (much less weilding) power, when means he ends up being a total non-entity. Indeed, his actions help the Kremlin greatly by dividing the opposition vote. The International Herald Tribune reports:

A leading Russian liberal party plans to nominate its longtime leader to run for president in the 2008 election, a party official said Saturday, further complicating efforts to field a single opposition candidate. Yabloko party council delegates said they would recommend Grigory Yavlinsky be nominated at the party's main convention in the autumn, although other candidates could also be considered, Yabloko spokeswoman Yevgenia Dilendorf told The Associated Press. She said that Yavlinsky said he would agree to run.

It would deal another blow to hopes of the country's increasingly marginalized and fragmented opposition to agree on a unity candidate.

The party led by Russia's former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov also has selected him to run for president at a congress earlier this month. Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion who has played a key role in organizing anti-government protests said that fielding a single candidate was the only chance to confront the Kremlin and reverse what he called the country's democratic backsliding. But Dilendorf said that members of Yabloko's council spoke strongly against any kind of alliance with Kasparov's United Civil Front and other groups in the Other Russia movement behind the protests. Yavlinsky has moderated his criticism of the Kremlin in recent years, and more radical opposition leaders such as Kasparov accused him of being submissive.

Opposition forces have faced growing harassment in recent months, with hundreds of activists detained and dozens beaten at anti-government rallies. They have accused the Kremlin of strangling democracy before parliamentary and presidential votes. Yavlinsky has twice run for president in the 1996 and 2000 presidential votes, but only got six and seven percent of the ballot, respectively. He did not try to challenge President Vladimir Putin in the last election in 2004. Dilendorf would not comment on Yavlinsky's chances as a potential candidate in next year's election, but said that Yabloko is supported by a broad segment of Russia's civil society. "We have support of many of the nation's rights groups and environmental activists," she said. In the 2003 parliamentary elections, Yabloko and other liberal parties failed to make it into the lower house, the State Duma. Dilendorf said that the party was planning to take part in this fall's parliamentary elections, but the party's congress has yet to make a formal decision.


Anonymous said...

Well, I can see the nails laying around here and there. Some of them are curved some rusty, but where is the coffin?

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of nails laying around. Some of them are bent, some curved, some rusty. But where is the coffin?

La Russophobe said...

We understand how you might be confused . . . it's that thing that looks more like an outhouse.

Anonymous said...

So sad to see this. Some opposition people have been getting worried in recent months that Yabloko was playing a double game, doing a quiet deal of some sort with the Kremlin, perhaps to be left alone from the general harassment the others were getting, in return for keeping away from the marches - in short, selling out on some of the braver elements of the opposition for their own gain.

St Petersburg Yabloko joined the march there but they did in a personal capacity, as it were, while national Yabloko would have nothing to do with it.

As they say "my enemy's enemy may not be my friend just because he is my enemy's enemy".

I agree with Kasparov. This is not what Russia needs at a time like this.