- Dmitry Medvedev - elections - Russia - Vladimir Putin
In 2000, Grigory Yavlinsky was in the running for the Russian presidential election. Eight years later, he will be at the sidelines - a mere spectator when Dmitri Mevedev is announced as Vladimir Putin’s successor.
On February 9 of last year, Yavlinsky announced his decision to boycott the presidential election, which he deemed “a mere maneuver to allow Putin to pass power onto his friend Dmitri Medvedev.”
The former boxing champion is the founder of the liberal Yabloko party (Russian for “apple”). At the Parliamentary elections last December, the party only garnered 1.59% of the vote, not enough to have a presence at parliament. Yavlinsky said, “I don’t see this as a defeat: The road to victory for a new life in Russia is longer than I had anticipated in the early 1990s.”
Yavlinsky was in hardly better spirits about the presidential election, about which he said, “This is not an election as Europeans would understand the word. In the absence of independent media, independent justice, or party financing regulations, it’s largely impossible to expect a credible opposition. That’s why we exercise the simple procedure of transferring party from one person to another:”
It is a transfer of power that does not truncate the current president’s influence. Says Yavlinsky, “I think Putin expects to stay in power till 2020. He has plans for the next 12 years.”
Putin’s adversary from the very first, Iavlinski is not particularly more charitable to his other Russian political opponents. According to Ulysse Gosset, host of France 24’s Talk of Paris, Yavlinsky evaluated Garry Kasparov in dry fashion: “He’s an excellent chess player.”
Yavlinsky paints a dour picture of today’s Russia. But the former boxer will not put away his gloves. “Today I can appear on television live from Moscow. I can publicise my political ideas and those of my party, even if they are different from those of Vladimir Putin.” This trace of optimism is tempered, however: “The problem is that I cannot talk to the Russians.”