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Feature Story November 6, 2007
 
FANTASY ELECTIONS
The eXile plays the Kremlin's hottest game
 
Page 5 of 8
 

Team History

Created in 1995 by Yavlinsky and other anti-"young-reformer" liberals, Yabloko was loved by Russian intellectuals, ignored by the Western elite, and ultimately spat out. In 1996, Yavlinsky ran for president under the slogan, "Vote For A Normal Person." Less than 10 percent of Russian fans wanted a normal president. Yavlinsky spoke out against both Chechen wars. The first time made him a hero; the second time, in 1999, Chubais and other pro-Putin liberals labeled Yavlinsky a traitor. Putin dangled a possible post to Yavlinsky in 2002, but it was a ruse. Meanwhile, Yukos team captain Khodorkovsky bought his way into Yabloko's structure, becoming to Yavlinsky what Abramovich is for Chelsea, with the goal of using the party in his "West-Coast-Backed Offense" strategy to unseat Putin. But that ended when Putin took Yukos down. With their sponsor gone, and their coffers empty, Yabloko got creamed in the 2003 elections and relegated to near oblivion. Since then, Yavlinsky has been part of the skittish opposition, talking the talk but not walking the Chita Walk. He labeled Putin authoritarian and boycotted the 2004 presidential elections, but not too loudly. Meanwhile, Yabloko and SPS continue to not unite their teams into a liberal powerhouse.

Team Roster

Gregory Yavlinsky; Sergei Kovalyov; Sergei Ivanenko

Strengths

Led by civilized human beings like Yavlinsky and human rights hero Sergei Kovalyov.

Weaknesses

Led by civilized human beings.

Draft Report

Can barely to afford to pay for its offices, let alone to buy out star players. Sad attempt at creating a Yabloko youth organization willing to risk jail time failed with the first truncheon blow.

2003 Season Standing

Knocked out in the first round, and only managed to win two measly seats in the Duma under the old NEL rules allowing single-constituency voting.

Prediction

According to recent polls, 12% of Russians think positively of Yabloko. But don't crack open the champagne just yet. 37% think negative thoughts about Yabloko, if they think of it at all. All in all, this team has about as much chance of getting into the Duma playoffs as Slutsk Lokomotiv has of winning the World Cup.

Injury Report

Cowardice has paralyzed Yabloko's talent positions ever since it became clear that NEL Commissioner Vladislav Surkov would penalize players at least one Rublyovka dacha plot for each oppositionist-infraction.

KPRF (Communist Party of the Russia Federation)

The Communists are the Minnesota Vikings of Russian politics: perpetually afraid of victory, the KPRF has made it to the elections Super Bowl more times than any other team--and lost more times than any other team. As in, they lose every time they go out to the field. And even when they won, such as in the 1996 presidential elections or the 1995 Duma elections, they still lose by consent. All in all, the worst red zone offense in the history of the sport.

Party History

The KPRF 2.0 party was the successor to old Communist Party of the Soviet Union simply known as the "Party." Built on a socialist/nationalist platform, it started out slow, gaining only 11% of the vote in Russia's 1993 Duma elections but reached a whopping score of 35% just two years later. Gennady Zuganov, the KPRF's founding member and known as the "George Blanda of Russian politics," almost proved that commie men can run after he beat Yeltsin in the 1996 presidential elections, only to wuss out after the Family gave him an ultimatum between rounds 1-and-2 that if he didn't take the runner-up cup, he'd be sleeping with the fishies. Officially Zyuganov lost to the barely-breathing Yeltsin (who'd suffered a colossal heart attack in between rounds in the runoff election) by a margin of 3%, and that included all of the massive vote rigging Yeltsin managed in the ethnic republics. The KPRF never recovered from that near-success. The commies' fortunes worsened after getting smeared in 2003 for their ties to Khodorkovsky's "West-Coast-Backed Offense" play for power. The Kremlin was considering burying the party for good this time around, but the combination of the failure of Fair Russia and the KPRF's guaranteed toothlessness (literally and figuratively) mean that the Kremlin may put off crushing the commies for another few years.


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