ST. PETERSBURG, October 8 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s opposition Yabloko party will elect leaders of its St. Petersburg branch at a party conference on December 8, press secretary of the Yabloko faction in the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Kirill Strakhov told Itar-Tass on Monday.
The leaders of the city branch were practically dismissed in March 2012 over a scandal when two Yabloko lawmakers of the Legislative Assembly, Vyacheslav Notyag and Olga Galkina, quitted the party. In late September, Yabloko’s federal bureau officially accused the local branch’s former leaders, including the branch’s head and member of the Legislative Assembly Maxim Reznik, of collaborating with the city authorities and manipulating with the party list during the elections to the Legislative Assembly in December 2011.
Reznik however maintains he was not to blame in the conflict that is fraught with a further split of the Yabloko faction in the local legislature. “I have publically spoken against expelling them from the party. What they have done for the party outweighs seriously the fact they lacked courage to do what they should have – to waive their mandates,” he said earlier.
According to Reznik, there are two possible options for further developments, that is to expel all his supporters from the Yabloko St. Petersburg branch or to work jointly “under the guarantees from [Grigory] Yavlinsky,” who is currently heading the Yabloko faction in the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly. “A party is not a family, no one is obliged to love each other,” he added.
According to Strakhov, the party so far has no definite position on Reznik’s “emotional words,” although Yabloko’s both federal and local leaders are aware of them.
Apart from that, the Yabloko bureau in September officially dissolved the Frunzenskoye grass-roots party organization that was headed by Reznik because of “overestimated reports about the organization’s membership.” The grass-roots organization membership is critical in terms of the number delegates to be sent to a regional party conference.
Earlier, Alexander Kobrinsky, a federal bureau member, told Itar-Tass that from 20 to 30 members of the regional branch “were facing personal responsibility.” “They are people who behaved in an improper manner, who took part in falsifications or justified such in public,” he said. As for Maxim Reznik, he noted, “the issue [about his responsibility] is not foreclosed.” He might be either expelled from the party or merely reprimanded.
In March 2012, lawmakers of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Vyacheslav Notyag and Olga Galkina said they were quitting Yabloko but did not waive their deputy mandates. Notyag’s and Galkina’s move was a culmination of the conflict that flared up in the Yabloko St. Petersburg branch after the regional parliamentary elections of December 4, 2011. In March 2012, thirteen members of Yabloko’s local bureau claimed that the city election commission had manipulated with the Yabloko party list to grant two Yabloko seats in the local legislature to some other people than those who really got them. “The party cannot accept the situation when it has found itself drawn into a dirty play of the authorities which issued fake mandates to the party members,” Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky said.