THE RUSSIAN REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS HELD A CONGRESS, URGING DEMOCRATS TO UNITE
Vremya Novostei, November 20, 2000, p. 2
Democratic revolution is over in Russia, a congress of the Republican Party decided last weekend, proceeding to urge all democrats to consolidate. The republicans are of the opinion that Russian democrats face the risk of disappearing from the political arena entirely if they do otherwise.
Party leader Vladimir Lysenko considers the “monopolization of the political, economic and information space” as the typical elements of the current period and warns that it may result in a restoration of authoritarianism. He is of the opinion that democrats do not need to be in a stiff opposition to the regime as yet – at least so as not to be cut off the major information channels. Moreover, he does not think that all possibilities of a constructive cooperation with the powers-that-be are not exhausted yet. According to Lysenko, President Putin relies on “the team of liberal economists from St. Petersburg” in the economic sphere, even though he is rebuilding the power vertical structure in politics. Lysenko thinks that this is the team we all should support.
The delegates agreed with their leader and decided that a unification of all democratic organizations in the country into a single structure (something like the Democratic Russia which made Yeltsin the president ten years ago) was the best way of showing support. The new democratic organization should appear in time for the next parliamentary election. In this case, all democrats will have a single and powerful faction in the lower house of parliament. The congress is of the opinion that it will be impossible to form two democratic factions (like Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces) in the next Duma.
AN EMERGENCY CONGRESS OF SVYATOSLAV FEDOROV’S PARTY
Izvestia, November 20, 2000, p. 2
The Party of Workers’ Self-Rule formed on the initiative of Svyatoslav Fedorov in 1994 convened an emergency congress last Saturday, the first congress after Fedorov’s tragic death. The delegates began by giving the party another name and electing a new leader. The key term, “self-rule”, was dropped. The party is now known as the Russian Party of Svyatoslav Fedorov. Levon Chakhmakhchayn, General Director of TV 6-Volna broadcasting center and TV 6-Media advertising agency, was elected the leader.
According to Chakhmakhchayn, the new leadership of the country under Vladimir Putin is quite correct in its evaluation of priorities.
Chakhmakhchayn: That is why the party should not be allowed to disintegrate. It should strive for the atmosphere of cooperation, political consensus, and economic partnership. We need a second wind.
The organization intends to get a second wind in political partnership with Gennadi Seleznev’s Russia. The delegates voted “yea” on the idea. Seleznev was quoted as evaluating the party as “very promising”.
STROYEV HAS FAITH IN THE FEDERATION COUNCIL
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 20, 2000, p. 2
Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroyev believes that the upper house of parliament remains the most stable and professional power structure in the country. It will remain such even in its new capacity, Stroyev says.
This is going to be the one hundredth sitting of the Federation Council, Hence the chairman’s optimism probably. During the reorganization of the Federation Council, Stroyev always believed that the changes merely weakened the upper house of the parliament. He is now confident that the new “Federation Council will be even more professional”.
Stroyev: This is going to be an infusion of some fresh blood which is always a healthy move. On the other hand, senators working on a permanent basis will treat all problems with better consideration.
Analysts do not rule out the possibility that this is a hidden barb. Commentators agree the upper house of the parliament is not what it used to be only several months ago. “Fortification of the power vertical” has taken its toll – only a few governors dare challenge the Kremlin. The rest have given up and all presidential initiatives now pass through the Federation Council smoothly.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: WE DO NOT NEED VICTORY AT ALL COST
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 21, 2000, p. 1
President Putin attended the conference of the supreme military command at the Defense Ministry yesterday. He evaluated the results of the antiterrorist operation in Chechnya.
Together with Putin, the conference was also attended by Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov, Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Director of the Federal Security Service Nikolai Patrushev, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, Chief of General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin, and senior officers from Moscow and the provinces. Defense Minister Sergeev reported on the results of operations by the Armed Forces and outlined the tasks for next year.
Putin: It is important to prevent Chechnya from ever being used by anybody as a bridgehead for aggressions against Russia. We should prevent the country from sinking in a swamp as our geopolitical adversaries dream.
The president emphasized that nobody would be allowed to deal with Russia from the position of force.
While evaluating the results of the antiterrorist operation in Chechnya in 2000, Putin said that “the major forces of the criminals have been destroyed” but “complete destruction of criminal formations is still ahead of us”.
Putin: The losses are too heavy. It is time we cut down losses which are frequently a result of lack of professionalism. We do not need victory at all cost.
According to the president, strategic deterrent and prevention of aggressions is the major task, the task “which is being successfully handled.”
Putin: The Army and Navy should be ever prepared to neutralize and repel any armed conflict and aggression from any direction…
REGIONAL ELECTIONS: AN UPDATE
Trud, November 21, 2000, p. 2
The 2000 regional election in some regions did reveal an interesting tendency – many voters in the provinces do not go to the polling stations at all (elections did not hold in many regions because of low voter turnout) while several others voted against all candidate. 9.5 percent of voters in the presidential election in Udmurtia voted against all candidates. 8.1 percent did so in the mayor election in Novgorod, 11.2 percent in the election of mayor of Tver, and 16.3 percent in the election of the Tver municipal legislature. In the Chita region, deputies of the regional legislature were elected only in 10 districts out of 39. In the rest of the districts the number of votes “against everybody” exceeded the numbers of votes polled by candidates.
The constitution of every republic proclaims in one way or the other that “it is the power of the people” that should be upheld. Does it mean that when the population does not turn up at the polling stations or votes against everybody, it does not want the power? No. For most voters, it is an unconscious way of showing that they want the power to be responsible. It is their way of saying that “since I cannot see any worthy person among the candidates, I do not want to vote for just anybody.”
After many decades of elections without a real choice, many Russians decided that as long as alternatives were available, the democratic mechanism of demonstrating the people’s will was going to provide worthy candidates and elevate them into offices. This never happened. First and foremost because democratic electioneering procedures become pure formality in a society that lacked well defined interests. Where can these interests come from when most Russians are put into conditions unworthy of a modern man and when life is all too frequently restricted to the elementary struggle for survival?
It is not a coincidence that, as shown by one of the latest opinion polls of the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies, only 26 percent of Russians believe that we have a democratic society in the country. Along with that, 30 percent define democratic society as political freedoms, 11 percent as the availability of real alternatives during elections, 18 percent as economic prosperity, 20 percent as financial well being of the population, and 23 percent as state care for citizens.
PRITISH PRIME-MINISTER BLAIR EXPECTED IN MOSCOW
Nash Vek, November 20, 2000, p. 1
According to Vyacheslav Nikonov of Politics Foundation, it so happens that for the time being our relations with Great Britain and Germany are the closest. Close relations with official London are ascribed to personal relations between our leaders.
Nikonov: It is common knowledge that Tony Blair met with Nursultan Nazarbayev last week. Nazarbayev came to Moscow to talk to Putin afterwards, and Blair is coming now. Nazarbayev and Blair discussed matters related to the Caspian oil. As I see it, this Blair’s visit may be a continuation of that dialogue…
Izvestia, November 21, 2000, p. 4
Russian Foreign Ministry is satisfied with “the interesting reaction of the political circles in the United States” to President Vladimir Putin’s proposals concerning a radical reduction of strategic arms to 1,500 warheads and below while preserving the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty. Judging by latest reports, Mrs. Rice, foreign policy advisor of Governor George Bush, welcomes Moscow’s readiness to bring down Russian and American nuclear arsenals to the level more adequate to modern day situations.
RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN CONSULTATIONS UNDERWAY
Izvestia, November 21, 2000, p. 4
On November 21, Valery Chkheidze, Chairman of the Georgian State Department for Border Protection, and Director of the Federal Border Guards Service Konstantin Totsky will meet in Moscow to discuss the state of affairs on the Russian-Georgian border.