Svetlana Sorokina: Hello. You are watching
the "Hero of the Day" programme. Today the lexicon of
Russian politics obtained a new word: "koziyed". This
is the term used by the leader of the Yabloko faction,
Grigory Yavlinsky, to describe the Duma majority, consisting
of CO-mmunists, the ZI-rynovsky faction and "Yed-instvo"
(the Unity). Today the author of this neologism is the
guest in our studio. Hello, Grigory Alexeevich.
Grigory Yavlinsky: Hello.
Sorokina: You also said that the right-wing
minority would be able to manage the "koziyed". Could
you share with us your views on how this will be achieved?
Yavlinsky: The time will come when laws
will have to be adopted. For a month the Duma majority
has been engaged in organisational matters. But at some
stage they will have to adopt laws. Then we will get right
to the point. This will be the beginning of serious work.
Now we have returned to do this work. During this time
we have prepared a significant package of draft laws and
think that this essential work with our participation
will be effective.
Sorokina: Perhaps the majority is
already accustomed to rejecting you and your proposals
will not elicit any response, solely because you are the
ones making the proposals.
Yavlinsky: Let them propose draft laws
as well. We donít care who proposes them: we believe that
it is important to adopt the laws. For example, we would
like to adopt a law introducing a moratorium on any tax
hikes. We introduced this law, which was drafted by Yabloko,
together with a number of other laws. All these laws are
jointly supported by the three factions. (Ed. Yabloko,
the Union of Right-Wing Forces [SPS] and Fatherland -
All Russia [OVR].) I would like to see how this or that
faction or whoever would disapprove of a law that prohibits
any tax hikes over the next two years. This virtually
represents a start to tax reform. Or, for example, we
are going to submit a law stipulating no deductions from
the wage fund. The higher the wage fund and the average
wage - provided taxes are low - the less the necessity
to make deductions from these funds. Consequently, employers
will not have to pay wages in envelopes. (Ed. the second,
concealed portion of wages, which is not being taxed).
They will be able to legally pay this sum, while paying
a 10% profits tax. We think that a number of similar proposals
would help extricate the economy from the current absurd
Sorokina: But you know all too well
that if these draft laws are not listed as priority drafts,
they will be debated for the next four years and then
be inherited by the next Duma. Surely you hope that they
will be considered soon?
Yavlinsky: We have very good experience.
We have never constituted the majority and have never
been a large faction. But, nevertheless, during the time
of our work in the Duma - and we have existed since the
formation of the Duma - we have managed to pass all the
laws that we considered necessary. Almost all the laws.
This includes a set of laws on self-government; all legislation
related to the planning of the budget process; everything
related to foreign affairs that we considered a priority
task for that period; a number of social laws related
to an increase in the minimum wage and tariffing system
for the wages of teachers and doctors. Despite immense
resistance from the government we managed to adopt these
laws, which are now in force.
Sorokina: So can we say that you really
are one of the oldest political parties in contemporary
Yavlinsky: Yes, you can. Apart from the
communists, of course.
Sorokina: And Zhirinovsky...
Yavlinsky: Well, Zhirinovsky is a special
Sorokina: He is also a political old-timer.
Grigory Alexeevich, today you returned to the plenary
meeting of the Duma together with your rebellious colleagues
from the OVR and the SPS. You were present, participated
and voted... Is the conflict over? What result did you
obtain from such opposition?
Yavlinsky: We achieved serious results.
I think that our union constitutes the first real result.
The very fact that three factions, which continue to hold
diametrically opposing views in many areas, managed to
unite and find a common platform and clearly state their
position at a time when human dignity and the common norms
of democracy were defiled. Nobody in this process tried
to exploit the other parties: we have acted in this way
from the beginning till the end. This is a great achievement.
We represent together here 18 million voters. Not that
many parties have so many voters - 18 million! This means
120 deputies. This is a serious force. And now it will
be much easier for the three factions to pass laws and
state our values. This is the first thing.
Sorokina: Why do we always unite only
in times of hardship, trouble and emergencies? Why do
we never unite in calmer situations?
Yavlinsky: There is nothing bad about
this. I think that all normal people are mostly like this.
In our country, for example, we have several papers and
several TV companies. You don't try to merge them into
a single one, do you?
Sorokina: That would be ridiculous,
as we provide different viewpoints.
Yavlinsky: The same holds true for politics.
People are different and hold different views. But it
is very important that we reach understanding on the principal
issues. And different factions, such as OVR and SPS, are
absolutely different. But there are moments when we reach
understanding on key issues.
Sorokina: Sorry, I interrupted you,
when you wanted to speak about the second consequence.
Yavlinsky: The second consequence is that
the country noticed that the real Bolsheviks (Ed. allusion
to historic Bolsheviks and the fact that "Bolsheviks"
in Russian means a majority) appeared in the Duma, when
the Kremlin merged with Zhirynovsky and the communists.
The people you spoke about at the beginning of your programme.
This is very important, as this is the fact of Russia's
politics. These are the aspirations of the present executive
authorities: this indicates where they are going. I think
that these two circumstances are very important.
Sorokina: How long will the union
of the three factions last? Or is this a provisional union?
Yavlinsky: Let us not guess here. Such
unions are very complicated in Russia. They are being
pulled apart: they are subject to a special impact. I
remember very well the time when we tried to form a union
with Svyatoslav Fyodorov and Alexander Lebed in the 1996
presidential election campaign. I know how they switched
off the electricity in Svyatoslav Fyodorov's clinic. I
know what they did with Lebed, and that time he yielded.
Therefore I would not like to assess today the potential
for the union of three factions.
Sorokina: Virtually all the committees
in the Duma now have a leader. Now they discuss only the
positions of deputy speaker and deputy heads of committees.
Could you tell us what you and your colleagues have decided
about these issues?
Yavlinsky: We will discuss this issue
Sorokina: Isn't everything clear yet?
Yavlinsky: No, we have not reached a
final decision yet. But I hope that we will finally resolve
these issues on Friday.
Sorokina: You mean that there may
be a deputy speaker from Yabloko...
Yavlinsky: These questions will be discussed.
Sorokina: But you don't refuse posts
Yavlinsky: I would put it like this:
we can agree only if we all agree together. It is very
important that we support each other in this situation
and offer a hand. That is how we will act with SPS and
OVR to adopt co-ordinated decisions. We will discuss these
Sorokina: Does that meant that you
will agree, if your colleagues from OVR and SPS decide
that someone from Yabloko should take the post of a deputy
Yavlinsky: This will be a mutual decision,
both by Yabloko and the other two factions.
Sorokina: This is clear. How can you
comment on the fact that the Duma refused today to approve
Zadornov even as deputy chairman of the budget committee?
Yavlinsky: There is nothing surprising
Sorokina: Nothing surprising, but...
Yavlinsky: We know their escapades far
Sorokina: But Mikhail Zadornov is a
Yavlinsky: They are not interested in
this issue. Nobody is interested in professionalism in
the Duma. This was a purely political action supported
by "Unity", or the Kremlin in other words, which was devised
by Zhirynovsky. Shandibin was the speaker on this issue.
This is such a nice company. And it reflects the political
views of the present leadership. This constitutes s a
graphic example. But I think that Mikhail Zadornov can
work effectively work as deputy chairman of the sub-committee
for the Central Bank. He is a capable, highly-organised,
precise and honest man. That is why I am sure of him.
Sorokina: And what about the parliamentary
Commission for Corruption that may be headed by Stepashin?
Yavlinsky: Yes, if we adopt such a decision
tomorrow at our consultations, then there will be such
a commission and it will be headed by Sergei Stepashin,
Sorokina: You mean that you hope that
everyone will support you here? The Duma majority?
Yavlinsky: This issue remained unresolved
due to a common position. We shall discuss this issue
tomorrow. I think that we will find a solution here.
Sorokina: How do you and your allies
perceive the tasks and competence of this commission?
This is a hard, long, even everlasting matter - fight
with corruption and what is more in the upper echelons
Yavlinsky: The Duma has a definite function
here. It is constrained by the Dumaís inability to hold
investigations. But corruption has penetrated our state
to such an extent that even the existence of this commission
headed by such a highly-qualified individual as Stepashin
will be very useful. I think that we shall provide content
for the work of this commission. Now we introduce a number
of laws that will be drafted by this commission. They
are laws on the elimination of the President's reserve
budget funds, or on the governors' right to use 10% for
their needs (all this was stipulated earlier), or on conducting
all market transactions only in an open regime, or, for
example, that all the state loans must be open and competitive,
in other words a tender must be held here. This is the
field of work for the commission. Or, for example, that
introduction of amendments, stipulating that all state
officials must declare their incomes at the same level
as presidential candidates, i.e., including the incomes
of their wives, children and relatives. We consider these
measures to be very important.
Sorokina: In your opinion, which draft
laws will be priority drafts for the State Duma? Your
proposals are clear and obvious.
Yavlinsky: We have three proposals. All
of them refer to citizens' rights. In particular, we are
submitting a draft law on the citizens' right to information.
This is a very important issue. We have already discussed
the drafts related to the economy with you - taxes, the
wage fund, the most painful issues. I have already told
you about anti-corruption measures. These are priority
issues to us.
Sorokina: So you propose all these
Sorokina: In your opinion, where should
the Duma begin its work?
Yavlinsky: Just a moment and I will tell
you. But in addition - and this is very important - all
three factions are now submitting their proposals. They
even spoke at a special press-conference on this issue
in the same directions, but in a broader scale and in
more detail. For example, SPS submitted a Land Code. Tthey
also introduced a number of draft laws on a deputyís status.
The OVR faction prepares their own laws. This is the set
of laws that I told you about. Everything should become
clear in the Duma, probably, on Friday, when it will begin
discussing priority draft laws. But judging by discussions
at a joint meeting of the Federation Council and the State
Duma... If the Duma listen to what was developed there
and take a list of 10 laws, make them priority laws, limit
the term of their adoption and only then move on, this
would be the correct course of action. We will advocate
this point of view on Friday.
Sorokina: Do you think that this will
Yavlinsky: As you know, 75% of the deputies
in the Duma are new. And they all behave in a very strange
way: they are all under the influence of this unnatural
union called the "Bolsheviks".
Sorokina: Do you mean this can be
Yavlinsky: This may be forecast to a
comparative extent, as there are grounds for believing
that first of all the Duma will submit for adoption laws
that would be very easy to adopt, in a bid to demonstrate
the Duma's ability to work. For it has not adopted anything
for a month already.
Sorokina: For example?
Yavlinsky: I think that first of all
these will be laws related to the ability to clarify the
Dumaís regulations. There are also laws related to amendments
that need to be made to the First Part of the Tax Code.
Something like that. I think that the Duma will not dare
raise questions related to amendments to the Constitution,
while we believe that it is necessary to focus attention
on this area. Or, for example, to adopt a law on guarantees
to the ex-President.
Sorokina: Vladimir Putin said today
that perhaps the issue of private land ownership should
be submitted to a referendum. What do you think?
Yavlinsky: This is stipulated by the
Constitution. Why should this issue be subjected to a
referendum? This issue is resolved by the Constitution.
The issue of private land ownership concerns how to do
this, instead of whether this should be done at all. An
issue is subjected to a referendum when it is necessary
to decide whether something should be done or not. In
this case simply a decision simply needs to be taken.
We have our own position, which is shared by a large number
of regions. An agrarian programme has been developed and
contains a resolution of this issue.
Sorokina: What actions should in your
opinion be taken with regards an inquiry into the fate
of the journalist Babitsky?
Yavlinsky: Incidentally the Duma failed
to establish an inquiry today. We have been preparing
a statement on this inquiry since last night.
Sorokina: What could be done now?
Yavlinsky: Let us be serious - only a
head of the Interior or the Defence Ministry or the Federal
Security Service can answer this question on the instructions
of the President. This whole bloody farce that we observe
today is absolutely disgusting. All developments - these
videos, the deception of public opinion... There is a
common human law not to surrender your people. Here we
are speaking about a citizen of the Russian Federation.
Neither the President, nor anybody else can act like this
- to surrender their citizens to bandits condemned to
liquidation. This is an unspeakable thing, I think that
it is unprecedented. Only a very weak feeling of citizenship,
state and country can tolerate such events.
Sorokina: What can you do now, when
Duma has not backed your calls for an inquiry?
Yavlinsky: We will submit our request
again, also during the government's "answers to the questions".
We will try to obtain an answer from the officials. The
matter stands as follow: today he was exchanged, tomorrow
somebody else will be exchanged.
Sorokina: Yes. One final question:
when do you think that they will finish collecting signatures
to support you as presidential candidate?
Yavlinsky: We collected 1,200,000 signatures.
We have been trying to stop this collection of signatures
for a long time already.
Yavlinsky: I think that we will submit
the signatures on Friday. We have already finished collecting