Yabloko announces comeback out of shadows

Head of the Federal anti-monopoly service Igor Artemyev, founder of Yabloko Grigory Yavlinsky, Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin, member of the Yabloko political committee Sergei Ivanenko, and RAN member-correspondent Alexei Yablokov (left to right) at the 16th congress of Yabloko. (RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok)
Two more opposition parties, Yabloko and Patriots of Russia, have announced their claims for State Duma seats in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. They have held conventions in which they discussed their election platforms and aims.

­Of the two, it was Yabloko that drew the most attention because it marked the return to public politics of its founder, Grigory Yavlinsky. He led the social-liberal party from 1993 till 2008, when he stepped down as the party leader to become a professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

He will now lead Yabloko’s list during the December 4 election to the lower house of the Russian parliament, as well as to the St. Petersburg legislature.

Grigory Yavlinsky, though, stated that he had not given up public politics, so there can be no talk about his “return”. The thing is that “public politics became inexistent” in 2007.

Back then his party lost the election and did not make it to the parliament. But now he is determined to “bring hope” to people and changes to the country. “I’ve no right not to try to change something,” read inscriptions on his portraits in the convention hall. For this, Yabloko will insistently demand from the authorities “a political discussion with civil society”. Overall, the entire program covers numerous social, economic and political issues.

Sergey Mitrokhin, the incumbent chairman of the party, was approved as the second candidate on the election list. All in all, there will be ten people on the federal list and around 350 regional candidates.

The leftist Patriots of Russia have stated they aim to get more than 7 per cent of votes. The list will be headed by it leader Gennady Semigin. The party was founded in 2004, while in the 2007 election it only garnered only 0.89 per cent of the vote. Since then, however, it has been taking active part in municipal and regional elections. In March it got 8.39 in the election to the republic of Dagestan’s local legislature.

As Gennady Semigin said during the convention, many well-known public figures requested them to be put on the party list.

“But we decided to rely on those who have been with us for six years,”
he said. “It is professionals who must work in the Duma.”

The party promises to build “a new state and society”, one of its slogans being, “There should not be poor people in a rich country!” Among the measures it suggests, there is a new anti-corruption law, reducing vote threshold for all election levels from the current 7 to 3 per cent and return to direct election of mayors.