Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 123

. It was announced over the weekend that Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (TsIK) has refused to register two of Russia’s leading political parties — "Derzhava" (State Power) and "Yabloko" (Apple). This means neither will be able to take part in December’s parliamentary elections. Derzhava, on the "patriotic" wing of the spectrum, is led by former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, while Yabloko is led by the popular reformist economist Grigori Yavlinsky. Until this setback, Yabloko was running second in some opinion polls, after the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which has been registered.

According to TsIK officials, Derzhava was disqualified because several of the candidates on its list objected to being included on the party’s ticket, while Yabloko was accused of removing some candidates from its list without their knowledge. Yabloko’s leadership has indeed been plagued by infighting, but its failure to register is bound to provoke an outcry among liberal Russian opinion, since it is the country’s only really popular reformist party and seemed certain to win representation in the new parliament. Yabloko is unusual among the reformist parties because it has support, not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in the provinces. It may be worth noting that Rutskoi and Yavlinsky were the first leading Russian politicians to announce that they intended to run in next June’s presidential elections. Both leaders say they will appeal their parties’ disqualification but, even if they are successful, the delay is likely to harm their election campaigns. Yeltsin’s hospitalization has increased the significance of the upcoming parliamentary elections because of the light they may shed on the probable outcome the all-important presidential election next June.

More Parties Disqualified.