Dorenko: Two students from St Petersburg
have been victimised for helping Grigory Yavlinsky in
his election campaign. One of them was expelled from the
Institute of the Military Industry, while the other was
refused entrance to the examination session and was then
forced to sign a letter, stating that he had secretly
co-operated with the Federal Investigation Bureau (FSB).
If he refused, he was told that he would be sent to the
war in Chechnya.
Journalist Maxim Goland: "We are used
to thinking that you can earn a lot by helping candidates
in any election campaign. In principle this is true. But
it all depends on the campaign that you support. Several
students from Baltic Technical University were unlucky:
they were expelled from this well-known university, widely
known as the "Institute of the Military Industry Institute",
for working for Yabloko and personally for Grigory Yavlinsky
as his authorised representatives. Certainly, the order
on their expulsion uses different wording "for poor academic
progress" - even though they were simply not admitted
to the exams owing to their absence from classes. The
documents justifying their absence, including quotes from
laws, were simply not considered. The students were clearly
made to understand why. Dmitri Barkovsky adds: "My friends
-and I don’t want to name them - also participated in
the election campaign and were called into the dean’s
office owing to their absence from classes for a quite
a long time and were told, "Guys, you should have been
careful in your choice of party". The Institute of the
Military Industry, now characterised by Westerners as
"the home of Soviet rocket forces" has never sympathised
with liberal ideas and values. The US State Department
has still not revoked sanctions against this institute
and its rector. The American side thinks that the Institute
sells Iranian students the newest rocket technologies.
Dmitri Barkovsky, future engineer-designer of technical
complexes and rocket launchers, could have avoided expulsion
from the fourth year. He had only to accept the proposal
from the FSB people. In the best traditions of the genre
recruitment took place directly at university. Dmitri
Barkovsky: "The whole conversation can be summed up as
follows: they tried to obtain some details from me on
Yabloko’s political activity, about its internal structure,
the financing of the election campaign, the people in
charge and their functions. I refused to answer these
questions. I tried not to answer these questions, as I
did not know anything and did not feel that it was appropriate
to answer. Then they threatened me, saying that I would
be expelled from the Institute. They also threatened me
with Putin’s decree on military conscription of 15.000
people. They promised to send me to Chechnya. Under these
threats they made me sign a letter where I promised to
co-operate with them and correspondingly refused to reveal
this information." Either the secret services has changed,
or students do not know or remember how dangerous it was
to fight such a powerful department: whatever the reason,
these individuals refuse to keep silent. Has this incident
discouraged you from political activity in any form at
all? Dmitri Barkovsky: "In general I think this shouldn’t
be discouraging. It can be intimidating, but I understand
that it should not be like this. Of course I am slightly
scared, but I think that this should not happen, therefore
I shall act." The St.Petersburg branch of the FSB where
we turned to for comments and explanations did not deny
or confirm these recruitment methods and instead asked
us to wait until their chiefs had reviewed the situation.
It would appear that the situation has still not been
Dorenko: I wanted to discuss this
information with Grigory Yavlinsky. Grigory Yavlinsky
is in our studio now. Good evening.
Yavlinsky: Good evening.
Dorenko: You have stood up for the
students: as far as I know, you have sent written inquiries
to virtually everybody: the President, Public Prosecutor-General
and the Director of the FSB. Has anyone answered?
Yavlinsky: Not much time has passed.
As you know, this coincided with other events. But I think
that the creation of an atmosphere of spying and blackmail
in our country will lead to huge losses for our country.
The recreation of a society built on informers will simply
disillusion the best people. This will involve the creation
of such conditions when they will neither wish to participate
in public life or work in this country. This will cause
huge losses for us.
Dorenko: You will be able to defend
these two guys, because they worked for you and you are
a public person, a well-known individual. What guarantees
can exist for such people, for their fellow workers, for
their neighbours? Will you defend them all?
Yavlinsky: I think that this is at the
core of all present developments. I think that the attack
on NTV represents an attack on an independent source of
information or even on the notion of an independent source
of information. For the freedom to transmit information
and speak about this information is the only way to protect
the interests of every citizen that we have been talking
about here. And this is a very broad attack. Have you
noticed which structures were involved? Simply all of
Dorenko: Yes, all of them…
Yavlinsky: The tax police, the FSB, the
office of the Public Prosecutor-General. Consequently,
we need to build a very broad coalition to fight them.
Dorenko: I am afraid that the audience
will think that I was personally offended here, but I
feel that I should not hide anything. To be honest I would
like to state that the tax police pursued me for six months:
as a result they discovered that they owed me 800 roubles
for 1995. For six months - from December 1998 until June
1999 - two officers received salaries for following me.
Why did nobody back me then? Why do they do it now? Has
it become more obvious now? Or is it simply a clan thing?
A clan close to you or someone else was touched, a more
noticeable clan was touched and then there was a less
Yavlinsky: To be fair, you should admit
that you did not call and did not inform me.
Dorenko: This is true.
Yavlinsky: This young man informed me
officially, writing everything that you have just mentioned.
I would like to say here that when the level of economic
crime, terrorism, and general crime is so high, maybe
it is better to spare the time of two FSB officers following
Dorenko: The tax police. But it is
Yavlinsky: …or catch young people who
are Yabloko supporters. I would like to turn to…
Dorenko: You have written that you
are also being followed.
Yavlinsky: Yes. Such decisions are being
taken in general. I have also felt this. I simply wanted
to propose on your and my behalf so that everybody interested
would contact us. I am ready to meet at certain hours
all the heads of the FSB and the office of the Public
Prosecutor General and tell them everything that what
we do and why we do it to save them their time.
Dorenko: But I am not ready to accept
them and waste my time. Although the goal is the same,
you are ready to accept them with this goal, but I am
Yavlinsky: I mean the time of the people
who work there, if they cannot work differently.
Dorenko: What is your opinion? Do you
agree with my thesis that today all the orders, telegrams
and ciphered telegrams are absolutely unnecessary? Was
this persecution of your people in St.Petersburg connected
with some guesswork by these blunderheads about what their
Yavlinsky: In general, of course you
have been speaking about what makes the robots move. (Ed.
Dorenko’s earlier allusion to the secret services as old
and forgotten robots that start moving to specific tunes).
And recently we have heard that not only robots, but even
monuments have begun moving.
Dorenko: The former monument was spoilt,
now Tsereteli will have to make a new one. (Ed.about Dzerzhinsky’s
monument that had been removed from the central square
in Moscow and talks about returning the monument to its
place. The sculptor Tsereteli is known for his expensive
and huge monuments).
Yavlinsky: I mean the information that
they are going to restore the monument to Dzerzhinsky,
even this has begun moving. In reality these tunes come
not only from our President and the ruling structures,
but also from our mass media, when they begin speculating
on such things during election campaigns as liaisons with
the west, the digging of a tunnel from Bombay to London,
etc. These tunes are momentarily turned onto…
Dorenko: You are also ready to repress
the mass media, but only the anti-Western mass media.
I did not intend to picket here at all.
Yavlinsky: You are absolutely right.
I simply wanted to say that when fanning a fire, you should
think about the final flames. But today I wanted to say
the following: you see that today even Zyuganov has been
defending NTV. And tomorrow Zyuganov will defend you,
if they try again to do to you the same thing they did
when they turned you out of the studio and you were not
allowed to work. And why is this happening? Because people
are basically interested, all of us are interested in
being able to speak to each other, so that we have independent
sources of information, which would allow for direct and
open debates about our problems. Today it is time to create
an anti-fascist coalition of all forces. You have already
shown almost all of them from Chubais to Zyuganov. Everybody
who wants to live in our country safely and calmly and
sees developments as a hindrance.
Dorenko: I wanted to ask you about
business. In any case, Americans and many other people
draw attention to the fact that this is a mass media.
In my opinion, the signal that the secret services and
military are attacking the lower confines may be also
regarded as a persecution of business. However, business
is in a very vulnerable position, it is really vulnerable,
you see. This means that anyone can be prosecuted. The
question is where you start – it is not an idle question.
Everyone wants order, but the order of today. People cannot
be made liable for 1989, when some laws allowed business,
while others did not. Because everyone can be prosecuted
then. And any dissenters may be persecuted.
Yavlinsky: Let us begin with developments
at NTV and my authorised representatives. This does not
have any connection with establishing order. I can tell
you what the establishment of order means. They should
start with the most important public events. The murder
of Vladislav Listyev, murder of Galina Starovoitova, murder
of Dmitri Kholodov, explosions in Moscow. That’s where
you should start, if you really want to establish order.
Or if you want to take on the oligarchs, you should tackle
the most significant events, rather than some "Russkoye
Video". The latter implies that it is merely a settling
of scores between different clans. This is revenge. Consequently,
everyone should understand that the economic reforms in
our country were conducted in such a way that today you
can accuse anybody of anything.
Dorenko: Are you advocating a zero
Yavlinsky: I think that we should definitely
stop living in the past. I think that this should not
be a topic of analysis any more. I think that everybody’s
snouts should be removed from the trough rather than investigating
what they ate in this trough five years ago. This is what
I advocate. Otherwise it will be absolutely impossible
to live in this country. The evening settlement of scores
will be transformed into permanent hell. Two dogs fighting
over one bone seldom reach agreement: this is what we
can see now. A line should be drawn under all this once
Dorenko: I have always thought that
the law on Yeltsin (Ed. on preservation of privileges
for the ex-President) is such a line. This means that
Yeltsin has been forgiven, that Yeltsinism was forgiven,
the Yeltsin regime and Yeltsin privatisation was forgiven.
Ok, guys, from now on we will shall imprison people, in
adherence with the law, rather than the laws interpreted
by stupid bureaucrats. It should be law. Because that
was an era of chaos and in this era anyone could be prosecuted
for crossing the road at the zebra crossing.
Yavlinsky: I interpreted the adopted law
differently, although I think it is right that political
revenge is absolutely impossible. But I would like to
stress once again that when 97% of the population are
impoverished, and the remaining 3% engage in constant
infighting, this means that the country faces a great
threat, which is not comic, but tragic. And please make
note: this will happen without any participation from
the West here. We will do this on our own. Therefore,
I think that we should focus today on reviewing priorities
and engaging in important problems, including the restoration
of order, as this is absolutely necessary.