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Putin will strengthen the criminal nomenclatura system
Yabloko Rossiyi No 14(106)
Interview of Grigory Yavlinsky by Francois Bonnet, "Le Monde", April 3, 2000
April 8, 2000


Francois Bonnet: Do you share the opinion of the communists that numerous falsifications occurred during the presidential elections on March 26, where Vladimir Putin already won in the first round?

Grigory Yavlinsky: Probably, we have also noted many strange incidents. Our real result differs greatly from the official figures, as everyone agrees. Voting was unfortunately rigged, as was the case in 1993 and 1996. Unfortunately, this discussion about falsifications is absolutely futile: at present there is no mechanism in society to investigate and verify such events, and the international community immediately recognised the legality of these elections. The official data represent part of the large-scale manipulations. Who prepares the political information for the first television channel - ORT - which invented the electoral results? Was it not the Kremlin?

Francois Bonnet: You have always preferred to be in opposition. You have refused all posts in the government. Surely this is the payment for your action?

Grigory Yavlinsky: In Russia we still have only corrupt and criminal governments. I refused to work there, as this would mean working with the mafia, supporting its methods and constantly trading with your conscience. This was the main factor behind the August 1998 crisis and default, which was finally announced by Sergei Kiriyenko. It should be made clear, that this crisis facilitated the harbouring of money by Russian oligarchs. The old nomenclatura reigned the country for almost ten years and concluded a union with the "young reformers" with the aim of getting of $50 bln from the West, a stolen $50 bln. Consequently I see no need to work with such governments, which, on the top of all this, have been engaging in a war in Chechnya.

Francois Bonnet: Do you think, that Vladimir Putin is a man of this nomenclature?

Grigory Yavlinsky: I think that Vladimir Putin will strengthen the Yeltsin system, that is the system of the criminal nomenclatura. The Soviet regime is not only a system of centralised planning, it also imposes restrictions, or, in other words, constitutes an absence of human rights, implementation of the principle "the goal justifies the means". This involves the sacrifice of tens of thousands to attain political goals, representative of a desire to solve all problems from a position of force, with creeping militarisation of society - that is where we are today.

Francois Bonnet: In your opinion, who is closest to the new President? The financier Boris Berezovsky, Anatoli Chubais or the individuals referred to as "Yeltsin's entourage" or the leadership of the Federal Security Service?

Grigory Yavlinsky: All these people exist and they have created the President. Who leads here? I am not a psychoanalyst, and I don't see any difference between them. Then why should he get rid of them? In my opinion, if someone is in prison, he tries to get out and fight for his freedom. But we face a different situation with Putin. There is no single sign that he wants to get rid of his backers.

Francois Bonnet: How do you assess the reaction of Western countries to the election of Putin?

Grigory Yavlinsky: The West will have to deal with Vladimir Putin, as he represents Russia now. But, in my opinion, today the West is looking for any pretext to act as his advocate, present him as a deserving man and explain that the oligarchy of this country prevents him from conducting the reforms, etc. I think that one should not seek justification here. We should call a spade a spade: for the past ten years we have seen only semi-reforms, and the population of the country voted for the representative of the secret services chosen by Boris Yeltsin. Putin was elected in a country that has been suffering an unprecedented humiliation. Our political elite thinks that Russia has been humiliated by the West; whereas it has been humiliated by the party nomenclatura.

Francois Bonnet: Do you think that Mikhail Kasyanov, who will probably become Prime Minister of Vladimir Putin, and his economic advisers German Gref and Alexei Kudrin, are representatives of this nomenclatura?

Grigory Yavlinsky: No, they are not its direct heirs, but they represent the interests of the so-called reformers, who concluded a union with it.

Francois Bonnet: Does your electoral result complicate the creation of an opposition-minded coalition of democratic and reformist forces?

Grigory Yavlinsky: This will be very difficult work. We try to work in the Duma with liberals from the SPS (the group uniting Sergei Kiriyenko, Boris Nemtsov and Yegor Gaidar), but I think that these small liberal parties cannot really exist, and their leaders support the war as they see here a way of restoring the army’s former pride. They can hardly be called liberal and democrats.

Francois Bonnet: What will you do if Putin offers you or some representatives of your party posts in the Government?

Grigory Yavlinsky: Why? To continue the war in Chechnya, introduce military lessons in kindergartens, prepare political information for the ORT and organise a deal to enable Boris Berezovsky to buy 60% of Russia's aluminium market? Today I see that the government is only engaged in such actions.

ei Stepashin on Grigory Yavlinsky's proposals