This weekend in Moscow, the YABLOKO Federal Council met and discussed the situation in Russia and decided on the party’s political line for 2015-2016, for local and regional elections, and the State Duma elections scheduled for 2016.

In his speech to Council, YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin summarised the political events in Russia and its neighbourhood during 2014 and noted that the political spectrum had changed dramatically during that period. “While a forced consolidation of the parties of power was taking place, coinciding with the State Duma complement, a political force within the opposition identified itself as the opponent of authorities in the sharpest political issues of the country. This force was us, the YABLOKO party,” he said.

He recalled that a year ago the party took the decision to head for the European way of development and at the same time the present authorities chose the anti-European way of development for Russia.

“I call you to start active preparation for the elections to the State Duma of 2016. The preparation for this election will take place within tough conditions. Not only the stability of the regime, but the state integrity may be in question. But the election is the only platform where we can legitimately struggle for power,” he said.

YABLOKO founder Grigory Yavlinsky also delivered a speech at the Council meeting on Saturday in which he explained that at present Russia faces two threats: a war and an economic collapse. He proposed a programme of measures to counter these threats including the resignation of the government and the appointment of Alexei Kudrin, a former Finance Minister, as chair of the government.

He outlined three further priorities: 1) Russia and Ukraine should begin direct talks on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, including withdrawal of all illegal armed groups and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, 2) the problem over gas should be resolved and Europe should buy gas on the Russian-Ukrainian border, and 3) a solution should be found on a free trade agreement between Russia and Ukraine in view of Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU.

The Federal Council of YABLOKO is the representative body of the party which works out the party political line. It comprises about 160 people including YABLOKO’s federal leaders, Political Committee members, Bureau members, heads of regional branches as well as one representative per a regional organisation and a party faction elected at regional conferences.