The head of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces
Nikolai Makarov expressed his certainty that the US can
build a new ABM system only in cooperation with Russia.
The only thing left is to get Washington’s agreement for
It is expected that the issue of anti-ballistic missile
defence will be discussed during negotiations between Dmitry
Medvedev and US President Barack Obama in New York on September
23. Earlier the Russian President has given his positive
reaction on the decision of the US administration to abolish
the plans of deployment of the ABM elements in the Central
Europe, and the US President has called the statements of
the Russian politicians that Washington allegedly changed
its plans because of protests from Moscow “paranoid”. Radio
Liberty is discussing the principles of formation of Russia’s
foreign and domestic policy with a well-known politician
and one of the founders of the YABLOKO party Grigory Yavlinsky.
Radio Liberty: Many Russian politicians are enthusiastic
about Barack Obama abolishing the plans of deployment of
the elements of the American ABM system in Central Europe.
Do you share such feelings?
Grigory Yavlinsky: No, I don’t, as these missiles and the
decision of deployment of the ABM system adopted by President
Bush did not threaten Russia in any way. It had a symbolic
meaning. What Barack Obama did, was done because he was
amending an error made by george Bush, rather than yielding
to Russia, as President Bush’ decision was absolutely inefficient
- technically, economically and strategically. He had enough
courage to shelve the erroneous plan created by George Bush.
R.L: How do you assess the reaction of the Russian politicians
who are speaking about this as of a large diplomatic victory
of Moscow then?
G.Y.: As immature, it stirs pity. Such a reaction can not
serve as a basis for further development of reasonable,
earnest, and, if we further elaborate on this thought, grownup
relationships with the developed countries. In general this
is a trade-in approach – if you give something to me, then
I give something to you, if you take away your missiles,
we shall help you or will not help you somewhere in Iran
– such an approach to the world politics is extremely primitive.
Such approaches proved leading to deadlocks and inefficient,
but, unfortunately they have been widely spread not only
in Russia, but in the West too.
R.L.: And in this situation politicians in both the countries
have been speaking about forthcoming (or commencing) reload
of the relations. Is such a view correct, and if it is,
what would you understand under such “reloading’?
G.Y.: If Moscow could now propose creation of a joint anti-missile
defence system, this would be a really significant political
and strategic decision. This was voiced in the beginning
of 2000s in Moscow, they were developing this and there
was some political initiative. Now Secretary General of
NATO has said this. This means a reload. This is a fundamental
turn of the whole Russia’s military establishment, different
tasks and viewing the potential foes from quite another
side compared to how we have been doing it by now.
R.L.: Dmitry Medvedev will have an opportunity to personally
tell this to Barack Obama, as the two presidents will meet
in person this week. Do you think Dmitry Medvedev may have
his independent foreign policy?
G.Y: I think that the present President does not conduct
any independent foreign policies. There are general polices
conducted by Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. They both
made multiple statements on this, and in their recent interviews
they have stressed it once again. What will be a real response
– a trade-in, for example, on restraining Iran or some new
criticism? Or, on the opposite, it will be the decision
on creation of a joint ABM system, which is really in need?
This would be an example of a real reload. It is required
objectively, but the question is still open whether such
a statement can be made. Most likely, it won’t be made.
R.L: Why do you think so?
G.Y.: I don’t see and pre-requisites here. The atmosphere
you’ve been talking about in the beginning - some euphoria
that the US have allegedly yielded in their postion – such
atmosphere has been created on purpose in some sense. It
demonstrates that we should not expect any earnest, and
I would stress the word, honest relations. Russia’s relations
with the USA and Western Europe are at a very low point.
Special policies, tactics, strategies are required for their
development, and this will not take just one year. I can
not see anything of the kind at present.
R.L.: Political experts who have been examining the tactics
and strategies of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin virtually
under the microscope detect more and more discrepancies
G.Y.: I am not a microbiologist. As a person who is engaged
in politics I can say that there are no discrepancies.
R.L.: Do you mean that Dmitry Medvedev’s statements do
not mean anything, when he more often than Vladimir Putin
speaks about the rule of law, his adherence to liberalism
and the need of democracy? Is this all merely a cover, sheer
words or a misunderstanding between Medvedev and his correspondents?
G.Y.: I think that they sit down together, discuss the
plan of work and work out the key goals for the nearest
week or month. Then this is implemented. If due to some
tactical or strategic reasons the thing you’ve just been
talking about should be foregrounded, this is voiced. I
think that articles published under the name of Dmitry Anatoliyevich
Medvedev are read by and discussed with Putin before publishing.
I think that this also refers to various interviews and
conferences. All the rest are simply fish stories of those
who are engaged in the study of such political microbiology.
R.L.: Do you think that during economic crisis this tandem
will succeed in leading the country to the elections and
playing the political combination which, according to Putin’s
and Medvedev’s statements is being prepared now?
G.Y.: There are no signs at present that this is impossible
or difficult to implement. Expectations of some potential
protests or socio-political movements during crisis are
very naive in my view. I think that other developments will
take place under such a consolidated authoritarian regime,
where we can see no serious manifestation of civil activity,
civil will and civil liberties – freedom of speech, actions,
meetings and will. In this situation Russia is facing deepening
criminalization and enhancing disintegration of the society
rather than revolt or spontaneous resistance. The citizens
begin solving their tasks absolutely independently, neglecting
and even despising the state, rejecting it. This process
is very difficult to reverse. It is unseen from the surface,
it seems that everything is indifferent, no one protests,
but very deep changes are taking place in reality. The political
forms can certainly be preserved for the next two or three
years. There will be elections, the posts of Prime Minister
and President will be somehow distributed. Most likely,
Prime Minister will become President again and President
may become Prime Minister, something of the kind.
R.L.: Is there a correlation between social moods, political
apathy and economic situation in the country?
G.Y.: The problem with Russia’s economy is not that the
growth rates have been falling or even that inflation has
been, say, 12 per cent instead of 10 per cent. The problems
of Russia’s economy are of institutional nature. This implies
lack of possibilities for business, lack of possibilities
for protection of private property. It implies absolute
deprivation of rights, lawlessness, lack of arbitration,
lack of justice and raiders attacks all over the country.
This means absolute arbitrary rule and absence of economic
institutions regulating modern market relations. This is
the problem. In this sense the past ten years have seen
virtually nothing positive, however, nothing is done at
all during the present crisis. And this pushes people to
solve their problems independently – but not in the sense
of establishing one’s own business, but with the help of
what is called corruption, extortions and redistribution
of neighbour’s property.
R.L.: Do you believe in the statement of governmental officials
that some stabilisation of the economic situation will take
place by 2012?
G.Y.: The crisis has been reducing revenues and employment
in the regions. We studied what was happening in the regions
in terms of the present crisis – and nothing special, indicating
of anything extraordinary was observed there, as for all
these years the economy has been “shallow”. It was connected
with the exports of raw and was catering for a quite narrow
segment of the population engaged in all this. All the rest
has remained as it was. The problems connected with education,
healthcare and law enforcement have been aggravating in
the situation of corruption.
In this sense it is not the crisis which caused the developments.
In my view, those who try to “use” the crisis as a political
factor do not assess the abilities of the system correctly
– it is much more stable as we could imagine. I would like
to draw your attention to the following fact: there was
no panic connected with banks or inflation, the country
observed these economic disturbances quite indifferently.
Why? Because most of the population is not engaged in what
is called the modern economy, it lives in accordance with
its rules and traditions. This leads to a situation when
the process of disintegration, decomposition and criminalisation
increase as nothing opposes them.