Editorial: Public discussion is a double-edged weapon.
An idea expressed today becomes the crux of intellectual
fights tomorrow. But there is no other way in politics.
"AiF" offered Yabloko's leader the opportunity
to express his views on acute problems. He defined this
genre as "poorly conceived thoughts".
Grigory Yavlinsky: On the Union with Byelorussia, the
IMF, taxes and the national idea. Fictitious marriage
for the sake of Kremlin's residential rights
Why do you think that Boris Yeltsin sent Alexander Lukashenko
to the State Duma? I think he did this to ascertain the
deputies' attitude towards any extension of a president's
term of office.
President Lukashenko's term of office expired on July
20 1999. He does not want to face any elections. Lukashenko
simply extended his term by "shuffling the pack".
And Yeltsin decided to try it on the Duma: to see whether
Lukashenko's trick will work in Russia too. So, if it
succeeds, Yeltsin will be able to come to the Duma in
August and declare: "Listen, Duma, you listened to
Lukashenko, when his term of office had expired..."
That is why we left the hall when the devil brought Lukashenko
to the Duma. Yabloko prepared its own draft agreement
on the economic union with Byelorussia. We submitted this
draft to Yeltsin and Lukashenko. Recently we submitted
it to Putin as well.
So we advocate a union. But the matter concerns the union
that was proposed. We are connected to Byelorussians by
blood in the Second World War and Chernobyl's disaster.
But if a Russian and a Byelorussian are brothers, why
should we take a passport from our brother?
We favour the union! But we favour a union, where a fraternal
Byelorussian nation is not deprived of its statehood.
We favour a union where thousands of people don't go out
on the streets to protest against this union. We favour
such a union that won't be joined with the help of a policemen's
club. We have lots of problems ourselves.
Finally, we favour a union, where the union treaty is
signed by the presidents elected by their nations. Today
the union treaty will be signed by a person "who
resembles the Byelorussian President". Today another
one will come and say: "This union treaty does not
mean anything, as Lukashenko's term expired long before
the treaty's signing". And then what should Russia
We should not ask the West to give us money. If I borrow
a thousand roubles from you, this is my problem. But if
I borrow a million roubles from you, this is already your
problem. The ability of Russia's reformers "to work
night and day" increased our country's debt to 160
billion dollars. Our country's annual budget totals less
than 20 billion. Then what should the IMF do to us?
We have no money... And we have nowhere to take it from.
The IMF is a normal Soviet "correspondence department".
You may remember that back in Soviet times there were
correspondence departments before the entry check-in:
messengers would come up and leave their requests at this
Today you have rich countries, such as the US, Germany,
Japan and Great Britain. Messengers go to these countries
and ask for money. To avoid having to give a little money
to everybody, the rich countries created their own correspondence
department called the IMF. A messenger comes to Clinton
and the latter sends him to the IMF. Camdessus sits there.
He says, "I won't give you money. Anyway, what about
this surplus of yours? And what about laundering money?"Yabloko
thinks that we should not ask the IMF to give us more
In the draft budget prepared by Yabloko there is no such
item as "financial loans". It is enough: we
have already borrowed quite a lot. But we can talk to
them, although only about debt restructuring, in other
words, what part of this debt are we really going to redeem.
And if the people in the IMF are really worried about
Russian "dirty" money, then I have a proposal
here. You in the West may return our Russian money and
we will pay our debts from this money. But we cannot pay
you from the budget, as there is simply not that much
money there. High wages and low taxes.
Everybody knows that most of our enterprises pay its
workers two wages: one official and the other in an envelope.
The reason is simple - extremely high taxes. The Government
complies with the wishes of some Duma deputies, who are
so "worried" about the people and increase taxes,
drawing on paper-based fictitious revenues.
Enterprises do not pay taxes, as it is impossible to
pay such taxes and pay wages in envelopes. If your director
begins to dislike you, you are not dismissed: they simply
stop paying your wage in an envelope, and you simply leave.
Yabloko favours high wages. We propose the following scheme:
the higher the official wage, the lower taxes you pay.
Then it would be senseless for enterprises to conceal
the level of actual wages.
The budget will receive money through the profits tax,
which we propose to reduce to 10%. And then people will
really start making contributions to the budget. So let
the wages be high!
We should pay respect to the people and the Russian idea.
Once in the past our President decided to look for a national
idea. He summoned academicians and professors, raised
his hands and uttered "you see..". They did
not understand and failed to find a national idea. Thank
God. Otherwise they would begin to try applying this idea.
I also thought about the national idea. And I found it.
Three men gather together, pour vodka. The first question
after the first glass is: "Do you respect me? If
that is the case, drink with me". This is not funny!
Respect is the main requirement of a Russian man. Our
people do not work for the money, they work for the respect.
And they cannot respect the authorities if they call them
a herd. Our people are not a herd! Our people don't like
it, when the authorities conduct training tests on people,
looking for a fake bomb, driving women in child birth
and children out of their homes into a cold night.
Our people deserve respect. They are the people that
the authorities have to respect, because the state exists
for man, rather than man for the state. We shall do all
that we can to make sure that the authorities respect
the people, and the people respect each other. We shall
do everything so that everyone, the whole world, respects