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By Eugeni Aronova

Grigory Yavlinsky on Russian-American Partnership

Voice of America, January 30, 2002

 The leader of the YABLOKO party Grigory Yavlinsky made a speech to the Carnegie Foundation on Wednesday. His speech was devoted to Russia’s domestic and foreign policy, the tasks formulated by his party that wishes to see Russia become an enlightened and liberal state, recognised as a civilised Western state.

 "The course of rapprochement with the West chosen by President Putin after September 11, said Yavlinsky, can provide the requisite impulse to the democratic reforms inside the country. The development of this course should bring a new team to the Kremlin which will perform democratic transformations inside the country. It is impossible to publish "The New York Times" with the team that can only print "Sovetskaya Rossiya" (Ed. "The Soviet Russia" newspaper), stressed the leader of the YABLOKO party.

 "Putin’s decision to choose rapprochement with the West was not inevitable", continued Yavlinsky, reminding the audience about the Kremlin’s close ties with Cuba, Northern Korea, Iraq and Iran. It looked highly unlikely that the West would further support the democratic reforms in Russia.

 The course chosen by Putin on September 11, stressed Yavlinsky, is in contrast with the views of the majority of the political establishment of Russia. Yavlinsky was present at the meeting between President Putin and the 21 leaders of the Duma and the Federation Council. One of these 21 people advocated Russia's support of the Taliban, two proposed support for the anti-terror coalition, while eighteen said that Russia should remain neutral.

 "Putin’s choice was not governed only by strategic concerns, added Yavlinsky. It would be even more accurate to say that he rejected the proposals by strategists to demand in exchange for cooperation in the anti-terror coalition that the West make concessions on investments, loans and the write-off of part of Russia's foreign debt. Putin would like to place relations with the West on a qualitatively new level, the level of strategic partnership." This means, for example, interaction with the West in the oil sector, where Russia may act as a counter-balance to OPEC, more balanced relations in the Russia-USA-China triangle; non-dissemination of weapons of mass destruction and constraints on the pariah states - Iran, Iraq and Northern Korea; fight with the illegal distribution of drugs and mutual aid in the defence of borders: on behalf of Russia - aid in protection of the Russian frontiers from the threats posed by nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism, and on behalf of the USA - aid with physical protection of Russia, which has the longest borders with extremely unstable regions threatening not only the security of Russia, but also the whole world. Strategic partnership also implies the recognition of Russia as a fully-fledged state power in Europe and the world and the accession of Russia to all the international political, economic and military institutions. Yavlinsky also named other international problems that, in his view, cannot be resolved without interaction between Russia and the West: the Balkans, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the crisis in Kashmir and potential trans-national ecological catastrophes. "Such a strategic partnership with the West will be implemented by Russian politicians interested in liberalisation and the assertion of the well-known code of ideological values of Russia - freedom of speech, democracy, pluralism, private property and the rule of law - which can serve as the basis for long-term cooperation with the West, that does not depend on the state of the market and cabinet reshuffles. The world will not disappear, if the strategic partnership comes to a halt: in this case Russia will merely lose another opportunity for a democratic transformation." These were the concluding remarks of the leader of YABLOKO Yavlinsky before the Carnegie Foundation.

 See also:

Acts of Terror in the USA

Voice of America, January 30, 2002

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