Boldyrev’s enumeration of alleged instances of high-level corruption, coming on the heels of his electoral victory in St. Petersburg, suggests he may be eyeing the national political stage. Asked by reporters yesterday whether he planned to run for governor of St. Petersburg or the presidency, Boldyrev said these were not among his goals, but added that any political organization “must realize its potential through all possible institutions of power.” As for his plans for St. Petersburg, Boldyrev ruled out a “strategic partnership” with Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko, a party Boldyrev helped found. Boldyrev said, however, that he was willing to work with anyone who will “support measures aimed at the decriminalization of power.” Yabloko, which finished first in the first round of St. Petersburg’s vote, finished second in Sunday’s final round, behind Boldyrev’s bloc. The St. Petersburg electoral authorities are expected to release official results today (Tuesday, December 22).
The issues of crime and corruption are also being addressed by some of Russia’s eminent literary figures. Members of Russia’s PEN Club, including such major writers as Vasily Aksyonov and Dmitri Likhachev, recently signed an open letter warning that Russia’s democratic achievements of the last seven years are in danger. “The ever-growing criminalization of society and total corruption are plunging the country into political and economic chaos,” they wrote. The letter’s signatories blamed “the weakness of presidential power” and the inaction of law enforcement and other “power” structures, and warned that communist and Nazi ideologies were merging and pushing Russians toward “support of a new Stalin-Hitler model of totalitarian society.”
MOSCOW QUIETER ON IRAQ AS SECURITY COUNCIL BEGINS CONSULTATIONS.