Grigory Alekseyevich Yavlinsky is a Russian economist and politician. He is best known for establishing the 500 Day Plan which outlined the Soviet conversion from a government controlled to a free market after the fall of the Soviet Union and established the Yabloko Party in 1993.
Yavlinsky departed Russia yesterday in a flight to Dubai, then took a connecting flight to London.
Yavlinsky, who has had a long and tumultuous relationship with Russian Federation President Putin, is said to be “on vacation”, and will return to Moscow in two weeks. However, the timing of this trip, to the backdrop of the worst relations between Moscow and London since the Cold War, sheds doubt on the leisurely explanation of the trip.
In 2000, Yavlinsky participated in the Russian presidential elections under the slogan “For Russia without Dictators and Oligarchs.” In 2004, he refused to run, saying that President Putin had rigged the elections so thoroughly that running was pointless. In fact, in a 2004 interview he said:
”We don’t have an independent parliament any more. For the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Unionwe again have a one-party parliament. There are no independent mass mediaof any significance any more. There is no public control over secret servicesand the law enforcement agencies, there is no independent legislature. The authorities considerably influence the elections. All elements of society are concentrated in the same hands which resemble the 1930s. This is a semi-Soviet system.”
In the 2014 Presidential elections Russian state media announced that National Electoral Commission (NEC) declared that 20% of the two million signatures he gathered to get on the ballot, we’re invalid, removing him from the race. In 2018, he ran in the presidential elections on an anti-corruption platform.
When asked why by J.P. O’Malley of Index On Censorship in an interview on May 5th, why the Russian people support the invasion of Ukraine, he said:
A lot of people [in Russia] seem to support what is happening [in Ukraine] for three reasons.
Firstly, propaganda in Russia has unfolded with great force.
Secondly, fear. Today in Russia, the fear of police and judicial harassment is huge. Finally, in Russia in the 1990s, an economic and political system was created that categorically excluded most people. It convinced the majority that they had no means of influencing what was happening in public life or the political sphere.
In light of the detention of protestors to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, which reached its hundredth day today. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Mr. Yavlinsky either stays in London or becomes much more vocal in his opposition to the invasion.