A NEW LEADER FOR YABLOKO’S ST. PETERSBURG BRANCH

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A NEW LEADER FOR YABLOKO’S ST. PETERSBURG BRANCH

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, April 16, 2003, EV

Mikhail Amosov has been replaced as chairman of the St. Petersburg branch of the Yabloko party by his former first deputy, Maxim Reznik. The leadership change took place at the third conference of the St. Petersburg branch of Yabloko.

Maxim Reznik was born in 1974. In 1996 he graduated from St. Petersburg State University with a degree in history, then studied state and municipal administration at the North-Western State Service Academy. In 1995, he founded and led the Yabloko Youth Alliance.

Mikhail Amosov not only headed the party’s St. Petersburg branch, but also led the Yabloko faction in the city legislature.

Amosov told us that there are two wings within the St. Petersburg branch – one represented by himself, the other by Reznik. The former chairman noted: “Although we represent different streams of though, we still have to work together. Only a decision of the party conference can be binding on Yabloko legislators, since neither the bureau nor other bodies can issue directives to them. Of course, I will be consulting with party chairman Maxim Reznik, but the Yabloko faction will still have the final say.”

Reznik said at a press conference: “The creation of party branches based on districts, as well as participation in local government elections – these are the key priorities of the St. Petersburg Yabloko branch. However, for the party as a whole, the priorities are undoubtedly the Duma elections, the presidential election, and the gubernatorial election in St. Petersburg.”

SHOULD RUSSIA HELP TO REBUILD IRAQ?

Izvestia, April 16, 2003, p. 12 EV

Ekaterina Genieva, president of the Russian division of the Soros Foundation: “Of course we should help to rebuild Iraq – but only if we can do so without any detriment to our own population. And that is doubtful, since Russia still can’t cope with rebuilding itself. If we do help in Iraq, we should send our specialists. We do indeed have some very skilled people in the field of restoring cultural artefacts. But we should help only when all the military action there is over, and that is still unclear. Russia might also provide humanitarian aid, or something else; but I repeat, as long as this is not to the detriment of its own people. Everything should be done rationally and in a balanced way.”

Mikhail Schneider, head of the orgnization and methods department with the executive committee of the Union of Right Forces, Izvestia Club member: “Of course Russia should take part in rebuilding Iraq. We have our own interests there. Russia already has sufficient private capital for this, and sufficient resources, including intellectual resources – and we ought to give people the opportunity to make money. And of course, more than a purely political decision is required here. We should call some kind of tender, in which companies could participate on a common basis. That would benefit the Russian business sector and Russia in general.”

Alexei Kuzmin, council chairman for the Politologists and Political Consultants Assembly: “In my view, the situation here is very simple. Russia can only start intervening in the Iraq situation once the United Nations has made a decision to that effect. As long as there is no UN decision, it makes no sense to get involved in such an enterprise. Russia must hold to its chosen position. Russia’s current stand on the matter is clearly formulated, morally defined, and politically verifiable. There is nothing more senseless than games of inconsistency.”

COOPERATION BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, April 16, 2003, EV

The Russia-EU Cooperation Council held its annual meeting in Luxemburg yesterday. The Russian delegation was headed by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

The Russian delegation expressed its concern about the possible negative economic, political, and social consequences of the European Union’s eastward expansion. This includes discriminatory measures against Russian producers and exporters, as well as the introduction of visa restrictions on freedom of travel.

In this context, at Igor Ivanov’s suggestion, a progress report was presented on implementation of agreements on unrestricted transit for Russian citizens to and from the Kaliningrad region. To date, good intentions have run up against a wall of bureaucracy from Lithuanian state officials.

The Russian delegation reminded the meeting about President Putin’s proposal for a gradual transition to visa-free travel between Russia and the European Union; this would comply with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the charter of the European Union. In light of new threats and challenges to civilization in the 21st Century, the issue of forming a new security structure in Europe also remains relevant.

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