Over the weekend, ALDE party member party in Russia, Yabloko, held its pre-election Congress in Moscow and nominated its candidates for the State Duma elections scheduled to take place in September and adopted the party’s electoral programme.
Addressing voters from the Congress podium, Grigory Yavlinsky, the Chairman of the Yabloko Federal Political Committee, said “You are not voting for us, you are voting for yourself!” before revealing that the regional groups of the federal list of candidates in the elections to the State Duma will be topped by young people under 40, and that the federal part of the list will consist of just one candidate – party Chairman Nikolai Rybakov.
The average age of the Yabloko list of candidates is 15 years younger than the average age of State Duma deputies, and 18 years younger than the average age of members of the Federation Council, he noted.
Nikolai Rybakov thanked colleagues for their trust and said that the party has an action plan and an understanding of how to protect the economy during a difficult period of the pandemic. He noted that the party, unlike Vladimir Putin’s parties, stands for freedom of speech, for the complete abolition of the death penalty in Russia, the development of competition and transformation of state corporations into joint stock companies, abolishment of building nuclear power plants and development of green energy and refusal to incinerate, as well as the ban on hunting.
At the end of his speech, he recalled when he was a student and worked as a volunteer for the Yabloko election campaign in December 1995: “It was cold, we won those elections to the State Duma, Yabloko received especially great support in St. Petersburg, where I was born. It was an incredible experience for a young man who was involved in something big that involved people all over the country. In these elections, our task is to return to 17-year-old young people hope for the future in their country!”
Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP, acting co-President of the ALDE Party, was one of the many international guests who participated in the Congress via video message. In his address, he noted that Yabloko has been defending liberal values in Russia and Europe for many, many years, adding: “We increasingly need to work to defend and protect our democracies, tackle rising populism and nationalist movements, and work to tackle global challenges such as climate change and the coronavirus.”
Henrik Bach Mortensen, Vice President of the ALDE Party, said that he and his party fully support Yabloko’s struggle in Russia: “I wish you successful election, although you are fighting against very tough and hard odds. I look forward to work together with Yabloko as a staunch European liberal party.”
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff MP, Vice President of the ALDE Party, emphasised the fundamental difference between the conditions for holding elections in Russia and European countries: “I am a candidate in Germany for the liberal party. I can campaign freely, I can talk to whoever I like, I can publish my thoughts whenever I want it to. That is liberty. We know that you are fighting for liberty for Russia. You, dear friends in Yabloko, you stand for the Russia we love: the Russia of proud citizens, the Russia of liberty, the Russia of a bright future. Do continue to open up to others, provide your support to those who do not have a platform like you do, thanks to your good work of the last couple of years!”
Video messages were also received from Hakima El Haite, President of Liberal International; Astrid Thors, Vice President of Liberal International and Chair of the LI Human Rights Committee; Jacques Maire MP, Chairman of the liberal group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Members the European Parliament Petras Auštrevičius (Liberal Movement, Lithuania), Martin Hojsik (Progressive Slovakia) and Bernard Guetta (Renaissance, France), and North Macedonian MP Monika Zajkova (LDP). You can watch all the interventions here.
Photo credit: Yabloko.