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Sergei Ivanenko, Deputy Head of the Yabloko faction

Why are we poor?

Vechernaya Moskva, November 13, 2000

There are many people who would welcome a discussion as to why are we clever, but not rich. They would gladly speak about the uniqueness of Russia and its special path of development. I believe that our poverty is attributable above all to society's attitude to business people, who are the engines of economic growth.

In Russia success has always been symbolised by glory, fame, the post at the end, but never money. Since socialism, money has always been considered as something vicious and dirty, in contrast to the West, where wealth is the first sign of a human being's self-realisation.

We look for idols in the spiritual sphere among poets, artists, even politicians,if you want, but never among businessmen.

Welcoming perestroika, the minority sighed with relief: at last it is possible to develop businesses and new ideas will be realised for the well-being of society. The majority adopted democracy in a socialist way: equalling and levelling living conditions: anybody who prospered provoked envy and even hatred. Here Pyotr Melikhov from Sholokhovs The Don comes to mind: We dont need freedom, slaughter will begin. For the past ten years of reformd forty thousand entrepreneurs have been murdered, including many really talented people among them, who could have brought glory to the nation.

it is high time for us to understand that Russia is not a unique country. The laws of life are universal. What we call democracy, a civil society and morality all these things are universal for mankind. We will only become clever and rich, if we realise this fact. But this will not be achieved through a Messiah, or a sudden economic miracle, but through the creation of a new system of education and legislature, in other words another way of life, a life that respects wealth and the people who know how to create it.

Vechernaya Moskva, November 13, 2000