Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s movement Fatherland (Otechestvo) and Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko played down yesterday’s talk that the two groups had hit a major snag in finding a joint approach to December’s parliamentary vote. Back in May, Yabloko proposed to Fatherland that the two blocs come up with a unified list of 120 candidates to contest seats in the State Duma representing single-mandate districts, including fifteen districts in Moscow. Yabloko’s deputy leader, Sergei Ivanenko, said yesterday that he had met with Georgy Boos, the former tax minister who now heads Fatherland’s campaign staff, after which he concluded that “Fatherland is not inclined to conclude such agreements.” Ivanenko said that Yabloko would put up its own candidates for all of the Duma’s seats (Russian agencies, July 21). During a press conference later yesterday, Luzhkov denied that his movement had rejected Yabloko’s proposal, saying that Fatherland had never received it. Russian media, though, reported today that Fatherland had specifically refused to share the fifteen seats in Moscow with Yabloko.
On the other hand, Ivanenko was also quoted today as playing down the dispute between Yabloko and Fatherland, saying that Fatherland’s refusal to go along with the proposal may simply be a sign that the movement is new and not yet able to control its members and candidates fully. Yabloko and Fatherland have also reportedly agreed on the need to cooperate after December’s Duma election on such items as naming committee heads in the new Duma and uniting the body’s “nonextremist forces” (Segodnya, July 22).
Meanwhile, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said yesterday that an alliance of Luzhkov and former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov would have the best chances for winning in the parliamentary contest. Luzhkov has been openly courting Primakov and has even hinted he would put aside his own ambitions and back a Primakov presidential bid (see the Monitor, July 20).
LUZHKOV AND ALLIES CONTINUE TO ALLEGE KREMLIN PERSECUTION.