Russia » Politics
Author`s name Michael Simpson

Elections 2003: Parties Indulge in Scandals

Gennady Zyuganov doesn't care about Holy Russia; how Yavlinsky and Nemtsov fell out and others
Vybory – 2003 (Elections – 2003), a public political forum that started in Moscow's Manezh last Friday has already produced two sensations. It is not ruled that even more sensations are to follow. When Yabloko refused to conclude an agreement on fair elections, a document that someone called a non-aggression pact, it destroyed every hope for unification of the rightist forces. The Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) and Yabloko are mutually blaming each other for all deadly sins; this in its turn provokes smiles, not sympathy from other people.

However, Yabloko derived the maximum profit from the scandal. The party has got additional opportunities for having much citing in mass media and it is actually mentioned more often in mass media now. It is a proven fact already that parties benefit from any kind of mentioning in mass media, no matter if it is negative or positive. At that, it is very important if a party mentioned in the information interpret the news correctly. This is what can be truly said about Yabloko now.

Against the background of untalented doings of Yabloko's rivals meant to slander the party, the party has successfully increased its citing index. What is more, in the framework of the scandal now people associate usage of "dirty political technologies" directly with the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) which in its turn may have a negative effect for the party's pre-election campaign.

In fact, supporters of SPS leaders Boris Nemtsov and Irina Khakamada have nothing to boast of. Although the SPS creative team has been considering different methods to increase the party's rating, the efforts were in vain. It was in vain to pin much hope on one of its leaders Alfred Kokh. Finally, some smart guy suggested to include Russia's key electric power figure Anatoly Chubais into the SPS federal list. Thus, Anatoly Chubais, the chairman of Russia's energy monopolist RAO UES of Russia, has become the number three figure in the Union of Right-Wing Forces.

The rating of Anatoly Chubais is even lower than that of Nemtsov and Khakamada. According to the results of opinion polls conducted by the All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTSIOM), Boris Nemtsov and Irina Khakamada are given 5 per cent each in the rating of Russia's most popular politicians. It should be mentioned here that never within the past three years Anatoly Chubais managed to win over 1 per cent in these ratings. On the other hand, Chubais is a new figure as compared with ambitious Nemtsov that has already become boring for the electorate. The SPS creative team thinks that Anatoly Chubais may woo those voters who trust Vladimir Putin, but won't vote for a nomenclature party. Let's wait and see if they will be a success with the idea or not.    

One more important event occurred on Sunday and drew attention of mass media. At a presentation of the Party of Russian Regions, the party leader Sergey Glazyev officially announced creation of a wide people's patriotic coalition. A coalition agreement was singed by 15 organizations. These are the Congress of Russian Communities, the Party of Russian Regions, the Labor Party, the People's Union for Support of Science and Education, the Russian Party of Creation, the Eurasia party, the Russian traditionalist party For Holy Russia and others.

The Communist Party says the coalition is marginal and not serious. Deputy Director of the Communist party informational and analytical department Yury Petrakov declared the party couldn't join the coalition. "If we join the coalition we will betray the interests of our electorate as we suppose the coalition was formed by order of the Kremlin with a view to bar the road of the Communist party," Yury Petrakvov said in an interview with a Russian newspaper. At that he added that Sergey Glazyev disappointed communists with the "marginal and not-serious" structure of the coalition; he says they all together may win only 1.5 per cent of votes if they run for the parliamentary elections.

Sergey Glazyev voiced the idea of making a wide left-patriotic coalition for the first time on May 19, at a scientific conference "From confrontation to social responsibility". After that Sergey Glazyev several times appealed to the Communist party leadership and urged the party to join the coalition for participation in the elections. However, the communist leader said Sergey Glazyev was part of an operation launched by the Kremlin to deceive the electorate which is aimed at splitting of the opposition electorate.

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