A CANDIDATE’S SOUP MIX: COOKING UP PERCENTAGE POINTS

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A CANDIDATE’S SOUP MIX: COOKING UP PERCENTAGE POINTS

Rodnaya Gazeta, July 25, 2003, p. 4

Saying that young people are virtually uninterested in politics, as most of the major parties declare, is actually too hasty a conclusion. According to a poll done by the Ebert Foundation, 32% of young respondents are interested in politics, while around one-fifth (19%) discuss political events with their friends; although only 4% are directly involved in political campaigns, regularly attending rallies or party meetings.

The groups showing least interest in politics are young factory workers, transport workers, the unemployed, and students at high schools and vocational colleges (around 65% say they are not interested at all). Young managers follow political developments more frequently (45%). Political activity among university students is double that of other categories of young people.

When asked whether any political party is having a positive effect on the nation’s development, 54% of young respondents said they were uncertain. Around one-fifth (21%) named the United Russia party. The Union of Right Forces is the second most popular party among young people, with 10% (this party has gained popularity by campaigning against conscription); and the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia is third with 8%. And if the 5% of the vote barrier depended solely on voters aged between 18 and 30, Yabloko and the Communist Party would make it into the Duma along with the above-mentioned parties.

RUMORS: BUSINESS SCANDALS ARRANGED BY VOLOSHIN AND ABRAMOVICH

Zavtra, July 24, 2003, pp. 1, 3

According to one theory put forward in a private conversation among analysts from think-tanks servicing the Kremlin, the “crackdown on oligarchs” was directly initiated by the Voloshin-Abramovich tandem; its purpose is not only to redistribute and concentrate assets in the hands of big business, including foreign corporations, but also to enable Alexander Voloshin to present himself as a mediator in the conflict between the business community and the security and law enforcement agencies. Meanwhile, Roman Abramovich – having demonstrated his complete “lack of interest in Russia” via his purchase of the Chelsea football club and other actions – will be able to take advantage of falling share prices to gain control of a much greater proportion of the Russian economy than he had “before the crisis.” According to the same reports, some representatives of leading British banks are also involved in this “Russian Panama” scenario, following Abramovich’s lead.

RUMORS: TALKS WITH UKRAINE

Zavtra, July 24, 2003, pp. 1, 3

The bilateral Russian-Ukrainian meeting at the level of prime ministers did more than “divide the arms market” and enable both sides to agree on the volume and prices of Russian grain deliveries to Ukraine. It also provided a demonstration of Russia’s new policy approach across post-Soviet territory, according to our sources in Sevastopol. Mikhail Kasianov is said to have informed Viktor Yanukovich that the Kremlin has made a final decision not to develop integration processes within the CIS, including bilateral Russia-Belarus ties; instead, it means to subordinate all this to the interests of Russia’s cooperation with the European Union.

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