Dorenko: Grigory Alexeevich, first of all I would
like you to describe your position clearly and concisely,
so that you don't appear to be an absolute opponent to
everything. I said that you are an opponent, but at the
same time I am eager to hear about your position.
Yavlinsky: Our position can be summed up as follows:
today the requisite conditions have been established for
increased control over security in the Northern Caucasus.
We support the government's actions, with respect to our
troops's success in establishing control over the heights
(Ed. around Chechnya). We think that our troops should
consolidate their positions in the heights. We think that
a security zone border must be created. It should be established
in line with modern equivalents, as it will function for
many years. In our opinion the authorities should announce
today from a position of force their conditions for holding
negotiations with the representatives of Chechnya, the
Chechnyan leadership, in order to resolve once and forever
the problem of whether Maskhadov (Ed. President of Chechnya)
co-operates with Russia in removing the terrorists or
whether Maskhadov is in fact in charge of the terrorists.
Dorenko: But what if it is neither of the two? In
general in my opinion this is the weakest point in this
form of argument: neither of these two options is possible.
We speak about the "regime" there: by the way I was talking
to members of the Russian government - members of Putin's
delegation to Helsinki. They said that there was a "criminal
regime" there. But what if there is no criminal regime?
There is simply lawless chaos. And Maskhadov is no one
there, a nonentity.
Yavlinsky: When foreigners begin discussing the situation
in Russia, they repeat your words for Russia in general.
They start saying that there is lawless chaos in Russia,
that the President does not rule anything, that the people
in the Far East do whatever they want, that bombs explode
every day and that even the normal functioning of the
legislative assembly in St Petersburg is impossible, and
However, you know far too well that today Russia represents
exactly what was originally intended. Today Russia has
the President whom it elected in 1996. Maskhadov was elected
in the same way. In this sense he is also a legitimate
president. By the way, Maskhadov has one advantage over
everybody else in Chechnya - he is not connected with
Moscow's political criminal circles. Irrespective of whether
he is a good or bad president, he should face a direct
question. Our security depends on the following issue:
whether the slave trade, torture of hostages and terrorist
raids will be stopped in Chechnya and whether civil international
standards will be observed there. And he must state clearly
and distinctly if he will co-operate with the Russian
authorities to achieve these goals or oppose them.
Dorenko: You talk about co-operation with Russian
troops: I think that today Maskhadov does not have any
forces of his own. Therefore we should admit that either
Maskhadov traded slaves and heroin or he is a nonentity
if he failed to prevent all this happening.
I am sure you can recall Makhadov's visit to Britain,
before Her Majesty's subjects were beheaded in Chechnya.
He made the following statement. He said that he would
find them: he swore, he gave his word. He did all these
things. But, you know, compared to Russia, Chechnya is
a small territory, where everybody knows everybody and
everyone knows where hostages are hidden. At least they
know in the villages about the actual cellars where hostages
are kept, they know their names and who they are. And
then the shariat took a hostage from Maskhadov. You know
the case, where the shariat court simply prohibited him
from returning the hostage. Maskhadov is a nonentity.
Therefore if you say that he must co-operate with our
troops, this means that he must become a "political" deputy
of Kazantsev and drive the bandits to the Georgian border,
remove them and imprison Basayev. That is how I understand
Yavlinsky: You misheard: I referred to the authorities
and not the troops. Because Maskhadov officially represents
the civil authorities in Chechnya. Maskhadov must undertake
steps that would indicate that he is co-operating with
the Russian authorities in eliminating the source of terrorism
in Russia. This is the sense. You should not be accountable
to Maskhadov, but Maskhadov should be accountable to the
Prime Minister. Neither you or I together in this studio
should be responsible for developments there. We should
create the requisite conditions, where the Prime Minister
of Russia will be able to ask this question directly to
his face and get an answer - one way or the other. Subsequent
events will depend on this situation.
Dorenko: You mean that he must raise a riot in Basayev's
rear guard and wait until the Russian tanks come to rescue
Yavlinsky: No, he must dismiss from official posts all
those responsible for who are blamedin terrorism.
Dorenko: He would be sentencing himself.
Yavlinsky: That is his problem. This is man's talk. We
are in no position to be excessively soft towards him.
We must protect the security of our women and children
and the freedom of our country. We cannot enter into such
details. He must take a decision. He was president there
for three years. He is responsible for all the developments
in that territory. Incidentally, Boris Yeltsin is similarly
responsible for all the developments in our country in
general, including this whole issue. At some time these
people must start answering the main questions. But they
must face such questions. It is not possible to start
bombings, make explosions and say some foolish things
about explosions in markets, etc. The question must be
put clearly and the goal must be set. The prime minister's
actions today deserve support. The most important issue
is how the situation will evolve.
Dorenko: I have a question about the army's mood.
I was in Daghestan near Novolakskoiye. People are enraged.
I am not speaking about the ranks today, I am speaking
about the army officers who participated in the previous
campaign in Chechnya. They are angry that they have not
been allowed to deal the final blow.
As this has happened to them on many occasions, not only
the last time when they surrendered Grozny and let the
terrorists escape from the mountains, but many times during
the campaign. When they see the sun rise many times, they
are sure that the sun will rise tomorrow as well.
They saw many times how they had been betrayed and they
are 100% sure that they will be betrayed again. By the
way, Putin's authority is based on their conviction that
Putin won't betray them. But they are sure that all these
discussions... Now I am stepping on slippery ground, as
we probably must not stop the discussions, but to what
extent can we trust the actions of the army?
Yavlinsky: Here we must draw a clear border line. We
should support the army 100%. This is the army we have.
Our soldiers fight to the best of their ability. They
implement their tasks and pay with their lives for this
service. We must provide unconditional support for the
army. You have just said that the politicians are responsible
for all the developments and discussions - the decision-makers
who ordered them to stop or not to stop in the past. They
are responsible. Today we are not speaking about the army.
The army does its business to the best of its ability.
I would prefer to have a better trained, better paid and
better equipped army, as Russia is a country that can
either be strong and powerful or cannot exist and it will
be torn into pieces***: there is no other way out. Look
at our borders. Therefore we are not addressing this question
to the army today. The army does what it can as best it
can. Let it be blessed, and let us support and protect
it. Today we address this question to the politicians,
who issue commands to the army. Today we are speaking
about them. And you stressed several times that the problem
of the war in Chechnya in all its aspects has been and
- as I understand, you agree now, - remains in Moscow.
Yavlinsky: I am speaking about the same thing. I would
like to understand where the border line is. Only this
question directly addressed to the present authorities
in Chechnya may enable me to understand this***.
Dorenko: Do you rule out a situation where Moscow
(I saw this happen in 1994-1996 and am ready to corroborate
this statement), Moscow politicians, including the bureaucracy,
play a Chechnyan card to plot against their neighbours,
their competitors or a competing party? If Putin is doing
well today - I am simply trying to extrapolate developments
and they are going to happen or have already started happening
- the politicians will criticise the army to plot against
Putin. This Moscow plotting is inevitable in this election
year. And inevitably the interests of Russia, or the army
or even Chechnya will be shifted even further than 25th
place. Interests will evolve around the people they should
plot against, the people whose ratings they want to reduce,
Yavlinsky: I agree with your statement. But I also want
to show you the other side of the coin. What about paying
with soldiers' lives for presidential elections? What
about paying with soldiers' lives for a rise in ratings?
This is the other side. That is the issue. Our task is
to restrict ourselves to our country's interests and the
security of our citizens. What is our final goal in Chechnya?
Our goal is not to conquer Chechnya, subdue and kill everyone
there. We have a completely different goal: to ensure
the security of Russian citizens in Chechnya and on the
borders with Chechnya.
Dorenko: That is absolutely right. And the minimum
task here will be to neutralise terrorism in Chechnya
by all means, as we cannot allow another situation like
the exploding apartment block in Kashirka (Ed. a street
in Moscow). The minimum task is to neutralise the terrorists
and the maximum task is to incorporate a peaceful, happy
and flourishing Chechnya. I don't know when we will manage
to achieve this goal.
Yavlinsky: Our task today is as follows: we should either
bring terrorists to court or remove them. There is no
other way. We should either remove them or bring them
to court. But we will be able to fulfil this task, if
we come to terms with the population.