MK: What are you doing now, Grigory Alexeyevich?
Yavlinsky: I teach students and graduate students, I write
books and help to the party.
MK: With advice?
Yavlinsky: With my work. I am a member of the Political Committee
of the Yabloko party.
MK: What do you consider your greatest achievement for the
Yavlinsky: My book on the global economic crisis will be
published by the Yale University Press next year.
MK: What is it about?
Yavlinsky: It is about the causes of the crisis linked with
the specifics of the present world political system prevailing
in the world. They are usually not examined, but they should
be discussed. Otherwise we will not be able to amend anything.
MK: And what are these causes?
Yavlinsky: There are many of them, including incorrect interpretation
of the end of the Cold War, the problems of civilised development,
deformations taking place in the world political elite for
the past 30 years.
MK: And what happened to the elite? Did it become petty?
Yavlinsky: It has not simply got petty, but it has shrunk
to a nano-size. Today's political leaders are incompatible
as their scale with the people who were engaged with, for
example, the tasks of uniting Europe after the Second World
War. And if the elite becomes petty, it is unable to solve
the problems facing the mankind. It does not even see them.
It is always preparing to some elections or unleashes senseless
wars. It has transferred all the politics into "real
politik" and discusses only gas prices, stock market
prices and who paid whom and how much…
MK: How do you explain the fact the elite has become “petty”?
Yavlinsky: The fear [we all had] after the Second World War
has disappeared. Life has become very comfortable. There emerged
an almost free world factory - China. All the work was shifted
onto migrants and [the employers] could treat them as they
wish. A new generation of politicians has no idea about the
values the postwar pan-European civilisation has been basing
on. They have no idea that global markets also base on the
same principles. They think they can speak with their tongue
in their cheek, bluff and play fraud. One can say that Iraq
disposes of nuclear weapons, but tomorrow - not even recognise
that it was a lie ... Unscrupulous methods of politicians
in very ornate ways lead to the situation when everything
come into a mess, including the economy. Business takes up
this pattern and also begins acting this way.
MK: So, it comes out that your book is not about economics?
Yavlinsky: Economics does not provide answers to the fundamental
questions here. Its rules should be set from the outside.
MK: Will your book be published in English?
Yavlinsky: Yes, first it will be published in New York and
London, and later it will be published in Russian.
MK: Are you satisfied how the YABLOKO party functions without
Yavlinsky: The party is doing everything possible in such
conditions. It “swims” in the hydrochloric acid and meanwhile
should also preserve its face and human dignity, as well as
its political line. It's very hard to perform.
MK: Do you observe reduction of the number of party members?
Yavlinsky: No, we do not observe this, but it is very difficult
to maintain hope in people.
MK: ... the hope that the day will come when the party will
be represented in the parliament?
Yavlinsky: No, I hope that it is the people who are of importance,
that they can influence the situation, people as such rather
than the YABLOKO party.
MK: Do you now regret that you have left the post of party
Yavlinsky: No. The YABLOKO party was the first in Russia’s
history to demonstrate that it is able to change the leader.
All the leaders [in Russian parties] have been only removed
when they began pushing up the daisies or by means of intrigues
MK: And you do not have any regret? Earlier the party has
been linked with your name: YABLOKO – Yavlinsky. But now it
is not so. Now YABLOKO means Mitrokhin.
Yavlinsky: And it is well, really well. I have great respect
for Sergei Mitrokhin and support him. And I have been watching
with interest for his growth: now he is an absolutely different
Mitrokhin than he was two years ago.
MK: You do not go to Triumphalnaya square, do you?
Yavlinsky: No, I don’t.
Yavlinsky: I respect the choice of the people who go there,
but I myself prefer a different tactics and different strategies.
MK: Which precisely?
Yavlinsky: I think that if it will be possible to achieve
changes in the foreseeable future, it will be only by an evolutionary
way, rather than through constant clashes with the riot police.
Generally speaking, I would not recommend to play with matches
in a fuel truck.
MK: Don’t you think that the clashes in Triumphalnaya Square
can facilitate such evolutionary changes in the authorities’
understanding how they should behave with the people?
Yavlinsky: I believe that both strategies work. If rallies
in Triumphalnaya Square are not a political event privatised
by someone for personal reasons, then they certainly have
the right to exist.
MK: And in your opinion, they are privatised?
Yavlinsky: I do not go there, so I do not want to talk about
it calling some names. For myself I know that it's wrong to
go there. But if rallies begin increasingly turning into a
slaughter, we (the YABLOKO party) will start going there.
It would be no longer a matter of policies, it will turn into
a matter of principle: why people are beaten simply because
they want to hold a peaceful meeting?
MK: Where, in your opinion, lies the mistake of the organisers
of the actions in Triumphalnaya square?
Yavlinsky: A distinct trait of these people is that they
keep the Bolshevik way of yelling that only they are right
while all the other are wrong and only they know the truth.
This is a big mistake, but it is very typical of them. Because
there virtually can be a great variety of strategies. And
nobody knows which one will succeed.
MK: How do you assess the dismissal of [Moscow Mayor] Yuri
Luzhkov? How this can affect Moscow?
Yavlinsky: We will be able to discuss how this affects Moscow
only after the appointment of a new mayor. And speaking about
the dismissal, I advocate direct elections of the mayors of
Moscow and St. Petersburg, and I believe that this dismissal
took place in a way unacceptable for civilised politics and
considerably reduced the quality of Russian politics.
MK: You've never been Luzhkov’s political ally. Do you sympathize
with him now or, on the opposite, feel that he has been in
office for too long?
Yavlinsky: I've known him for 20 years. Really, we've never
been allies, but we have always had good relations. I met
with him and we discussed all sorts of topics, I came to him
in his office, and I can not consider this sudden collective
mass awakening within a week normal, when all the electronic
media suddenly came down on him and began mobbing him.
MK: Did you read the draft law on police? Can it stop the
collapse of the law enforcement system?
Yavlinsky: The draft law has three [key] aspects: 1) the
relationship between the law enforcement and the citizens,
2) the relationship between the law enforcement and the business,
and 3) the relationship between the law enforcement and crime.
The draft law has nothing new in any of these aspects compared
to the present practices. On the opposite it legalises the
present system. That is why, according to President Medvedev,
90 percent of reviews on the draft law were negative.
MK: Why do you think the Interior Ministry system has been
Yavlinsky: Because we have neglected the key dogmas. The
modern state can not exist without division of powers, equality
of everyone before law, priority of private property protection
on behalf of the state. And we have nothing of this. Therefore,
entire state subsystems are collapsing.
MK: But why is it the police that is collapsing, and not,
say, medicine or healthcare?
Yavlinsky: Everything is falling apart, but it is less conspicuous
in other subsystems. For example, one can get treatment through
personal contacts or money. The same refers to education.
We do not notice the collapse in the army, as it is inactive.
However, the police is active, and we come into contact with
it daily, and it can not be replaced by anything.
MK: Can we assemble the collapsing systems with the help
Yavlinsky: If under modernisation we understand merely technological
innovations, then we can not.
MK: What does modernisation mean for Russia?
Yavlinsky: Modernisation of Russia means changing the rules
of social relations inside the state, set the same law for
everyone, introduction of independent court, putting the government
under public control, formation of the legislative authority
with account to the opinion of a large part of the society,
rather than some bureaucratic group. This is what modernisation
MK: Are you going to return to politics?
Yavlinsky: There is nothing to return to. There is no politics.
MK: Then maybe to the system of state governing?
Yavlinsky: I have not considered such a task.
MK: Where would you move the [notorious and labeled as the
worst monument ever] monument to the Peter the Great [in Moscow]?
Yavlinsky: There is a park not far from its present site
with many different monuments and sculptures. It can be moved
there. But generally speaking, it is not where we should start.
Certainly, I have my own attitude to this monument and it
is clear. But this is not the number one issue.
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