Grigory Yavlinsky, co-founder of the Yabloko party, spoke on air during a broadcast of the television channel Dozhd about a prior meeting between him and President Vladimir Putin, during which they discussed the situation in Ukraine.
Yavlinsky said that he considered it “necessary to meet" with Putin, "because this is politics." "And we need to conduct a dialogue. If there is no dialogue, then it is a big, big disaster," he said.
Regarding whether Putin thinks that "something needs to be changed" and whether he realizes that there is a "powder keg situation" in the country, Yavlinsky replied that he does not believe so. "I can say: no, I don’t see it. Moreover, I think that even if he understands this question as such, the conclusions he draws are completely [opposite] of those I would consider to be correct," the politician said.
According to the founder of the Yabloko party, the meeting focused on the situation in Ukraine. He did not disclose details, saying only that "[they] talked," and that Putin agreed the war in Ukraine must be "finished." "But [the fact that] that this is a war, as I understand it, he does not agree with," Yavlinsky added.
Yavlinsky did not mention the date of his meeting with Putin; he said that it occurred "some time ago," "this year," and "just recently," adding that he "does not remember exactly."
When asked whether he was at the meeting by invitation, the Yabloko founder replied: "Have you tried to get in touch with him?".
Grigory Yavlinsky will participate in Russia’s presidential elections in March 2018; the party will officially nominate him on December 22. He supports the withdrawal of Russian military from Syria and the "normalization of relations with Ukraine."
In addition to Yavlinsky, others who have announced their desire to participate in the elections include President Vladimir Putin, KPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov, TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak, founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) Alexei Navalny, business ombudsman Boris Titov, and others.