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27 May, 2024 20:44

Support for Russia’s oldest liberal party falls to 0% – poll

Yabloko once had 45 seats in the Russian parliament
Support for Russia’s oldest liberal party falls to 0% – poll

Yabloko, the Russian liberal party founded in 1993 by economist Grigory Yavlinsky, no longer has any support in Russian society, according to a recent public opinion survey.

While the party’s rating has fluctuated between one and two percent in recent years, it has now dropped to zero for the first time ever, according to the poll by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), published on Monday.

Yavlinsky’s vision for a liberal democracy is now less popular than the Green Party or the Russian Pensioners for Social Justice, according to the FOM survey. 

The pollster monitors the popularity of Russian parties on a daily basis. The latest survey was carried out on May 17-19 and asked a representative sample of adult Russians who they would vote for if the general elections were held next Sunday. 

Born in Lviv, in present-day Ukraine, Yavlinsky was a senior figure in the Soviet ministry of labor when he wrote ‘500 Days,’ a 1990 blueprint for the USSR’s rapid transition to a free-market economy. He was an outspoken critic of the “shock therapy” transition, embraced by Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Yegor Gaidar in 1992, which wrecked the economy and made it easy prey for foreign investors and domestic tycoons.

Co-founded by Yavlinsky in 1993, Yabloko (“apple”) won 27 seats in the 450-member State Duma, with 8% of the national vote. In the 1996 election the party did even better, winning 45 seats. By 2000, however, it was down to 20 seats and, in 2003, did not make the 5% threshold for entering the legislature.

In 2021, Yabloko got just 1.37% of the vote in the general election, despite being backed by Alexey Navalny, the opposition activist who was in prison on corruption charges at the time. Yavlinsky publicly rejected Navalny's endorsement, citing the latter's ejection from the party in 2007 for “racist” rhetoric.

After the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the party denounced it as “Russia’s war with the objective course of history, a war against time, a tragic fall from the reality of the modern world” and “contrary to the national interests of Russia.”