ORT, Vremya program, January 22, 2000, 21:00

The Public Opinion Foundation conducted a poll last weekend, asking: “If the presidential elections were held this week, whom would you support?” First place was taken by acting President Vladimir Putin. His rating is rising; 57% of respondents would vote for him. Last week he was supported by 55% of respondents. It means a sure victory in the first round. Second place was taken by Gennady Zyuganov: 14% now and 13% a week ago. Yevgeny Primakov has taken third place, with 6% of respondents supporting him (7% last week). Fourth place was taken by Vladimir Zhirinovsky (last week 3% of respondents supported him). Grigory Yavlinsky is fifth, retaining his 3% of potential voters. Sergei Kirienko and Yuri Luzhkov take sixth and seventh places respectively (both of them collected 2%). Sergei Shoigu has moved to eighth place: 1% now and 2% last week.

The latest political maneuvering of the politicians have not yet influenced their ratings. The results of this weekend’s poll will be published next week. Perhaps it will be a poll of people who are informed about the activities of their representatives.


TV Center, Nedelya, January 22, 2000, 20:00

According to sources close to the leadership of the three rogue political blocs, Sergei Stepashin has been commissioned with conducting negotiations aimed at settling the parliamentary crisis. He has met with Vladimir Putin twice – on January 21 and 22. The negotiations are at a delicate stage. Yabloko, unlike the Union of Right Forces or Fatherland-All Russia, is taking a hard line. Yabloko demands that the chair of the Committee for Foreign Affairs should be returned to it. Otherwise, Yabloko will refuse to return to the Duma. The Union of Right Forces and Fatherland-All Russia seem to think that Rogozin is not an ideal person to head this Committee, but they do not make their return to the Duma conditional on his dismissal. Understandably, Yabloko may find itself in isolation. What’s more, Stepashin, who used to say during the parliamentary campaign that he supports Vladimir Putin, and always stressed that he is not a member of Yabloko, may leave Yabloko.


TV Center, Nedelya, January 22, 2000, 20:00

Question: Yuri Luzhkov is the guest of the Nedelya program. By the way, may I call you the leader of the Fatherland movement?

Yuri Luzhkov: Yes, of course.

Q: What do you think about the unexpected alliance between Unity and the Communists in the Duma, and about the split caused by this alliance? Will they separate after the election of the Duma speaker, or is this a long-term alliance? In other words, is it a tactical or strategic alliance?

YL: I do not think it is a tactical alliance. Using tactics, the Kremlin administration decided to gain control over all Duma committees and over the entire Duma. I think that elements of strategy can be seen behind these tactics.

Q: Do you still insist that Kremlin officials are behind these intrigues, or do you think it is Putin’s initiative?

YL: I think it is Voloshin’s initiative. Of course the Kremlin administration instigated this intrigue. And I think they played a dirty trick on Vladimir Putin.

Q: Does that mean you feel sympathy for Vladimir Putin?

YL: In this case I feel sympathy for Putin. I think the best course of action for Vladimir Putin would be to dissociate himself from all these events in the Duma, because everything that has happened is just obscene. It is a political obscenity, no less. It is possible that this alliance between Unity and the Communists is not firm. That will be revealed during the debates on the ABM Treaty. The Communists oppose the Treaty. Unity, being the representative of the government, which used to state that it would like to prolong this treaty, will try to promote it. I think it will be the first clash between the Communists and Unity.

Q: It is clear. The alliance between Unity and the CPRF is not firm. Eventually this alliance will fall apart. But the collapse of the Fatherland-All Russia alliance is underway, and that is a disaster.

YL: You don’t say! That is a surprise for me. I never heard that the Fatherland-All Russia alliance is falling apart.

Q: You do not think so?

YL: Absolutely not.

Q: The leaders of the Fatherland-All Russia alliance are leaving the movement. Not ordinary members – but leaders.

YL: Whom do you mean?

Q: Shaimiev and Yakovlev. Formally they are members of the movement, but they have already stated that they support Vladimir Putin and will follow him.

YL: You know, the Fatherland-All Russia alliance has not made its choice yet…

Q: Sergei Yastrzhembsky demonstratively left the movement for the Kremlin.

YL: Let’s consider everything in detail. Firstly, Fatherland has formed a Duma faction. The faction is not weak; it consists of 51 deputies. We have coordinated the work of the faction. This faction consists of the members of Fatherland and the Russian Regions deputy group. Just look at this current conflict issue – the elections of the speaker and allocation of the Committees – it is a united withdrawal by Fatherland, the Union of Right Forces, and Yabloko. Talking about coordination and consolidation, I think everything is all right here. We do not reject different points of view, different approaches, different positions. And we must not. True unanimity can be seen only in a cemetery. We must not create a cemetery unanimity in the Duma.

Q: Let’s return to Yastrzhembsky. What do you think of his behavior?

YL: I think it is a normal and natural development of events. I am not prejudiced against his appointment. We took Yastrzhembsky when he was turned down by the Kremlin. We took him as a specialist, as a person who is a skilled specialist in international affairs and the media. I can say that his performance in the government of Moscow was effective. I appreciate his work during the parliamentary campaign. And I think it is normal that Yastrzhembsky, being a young and energetic professional, has decided to return to the Kremlin. It is natural.

Q: Do you mean that he refused to return to the government of Moscow?

YL: It was his decision.

Q: It is clear now that the splitters will not manage to create an alliance. Yabloko demands the Committee for Foreign Affairs; the Fatherland-All Russia alliance and the Union of Right Forces are ready to consider any alternatives the government may propose. There is no concord among the opposition, which is potentially ruinous. Do you think that it will be the downfall of the opposition?

YL: We have consolidated around protection of democratic principles in the Duma. The collective activities of the Fatherland-All Russia alliance, the Russian Regions group, Yabloko, and the Union of Right Forces is the result of a powerful attempt to protect the democratic principles of the work of the Duma.