Staunton, February 21 – In democratic countries, political parties rarely expel their members at least formally. They use other means to remove from positions of authority those who violate party principles or seek to subvert the organization for their own purposes. But in Russia, the Soviet tradition lives on, even in parties that define themselves as democratic.
Faced with what they viewed as almost a revolt in its ranks, YABLOKO leaders examined the case of 24 members of the party in Moscow and voted to expel from the party 16 of them, arguing t the actions of those removed “had diverted efforts from the political struggle” (yabloko.ru/Resheniya_Byuro/2020/02/21 and yabloko.ru/files/users/user3/iskl21022020.pdf).
The individuals involved were certainly driven by the ambition to take over a key segment of the party’s activities, and it can’t be excluded that they were being used by the authorities as a Trojan horse to disorder or even destroy YABLOKO. But purging ranks, even with democratic votes, doesn’t look good especially in the context of Russian history.
And the consequences of this action by the party for its future as a result may prove to be more serious than a struggle within the party to ensure that this group, which YABLOKO leaders say has no support, is not able to assume the leadership of one or another of its regional branches.
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