[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]

gazeta.ru, September 2, 2003

"We'll arrange the trial of the century for RAO UES"

By Boris Sapozhnikov

Interview with Deputy chairman of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin.

Deputy Chairman of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin, in an interview for Gazeta.Ru, has said that he retains the right to sue the top management of the country's power grid monopoly Unified Energy Systems of Russia (RAO UES), which includes Anatoly Chubais and Leonid Gozman of the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS). Last month UES management said it was filing a lawsuit against Mitrokhin.

Question: Sergei Sergeyevich, at a news conference a week ago you accused members of the SPS party, who hold top posts in RAO UES of Russia of conducting a 'dirty PR' campaign against YABLOKO. Have you altered your attitude towards the SPS?

Mitrokhin: Why should I change my attitude?

Q: Are you set to sue RAO UES?

Mitrokhin: I have never wanted to sue namely RAO UES; this organisation does not bother me at all. What I said is that the head of that company, who is at the same time one of the co-chairmen of SPS, Anatoly Chubais, has, along with [RAO UES] board member and Chairman of the SPS Ñreative Political Council Gozman, as well as with [Alfred] Kokh, who chairs the election headquarters of SPS, masterminded the 'dirty PR' campaign against our party.

Q: Do you have evidence that these individuals were involved in these so-called dirty PR acts?

Mitrokhin: We have good grounds for assuming that RAO UES is one of the sources of financing for the SPS and for the projects that the party carries out. Indirectly this affects the growth in the energy tariffs for the population. We have proof of such facts, and when the court proceedings take place, we will expose the fraudulence of energy workers, for instance, during the severest cold snaps. We even have data from the Energy Ministry proving this fact. By increasing power rates the SPS derives shady income used to finance its campaigns.

There is a very extensive list of documents that we plan to publish. They prove acts of fraud by regional energy companies. What machinations have they not resorted to! In particular, last winter on the days when it was especially cold they would lower temperatures at homes to 14-15 degrees, thereby saving on fuel, and forcing citizens to buy electric heaters, which in turn meant considerable profits.

And this is just one example, and do you know how many there are? We have energy experts who can provide all that information. That is why I look forward to Mr. Gozman launching a lawsuit against me. We will turn the proceedings into a show trial, a trial of the century of RAO UES management.

Let me mention one more thing: earlier this week in your paper Leonid Gozman sneered at Yavlinsky when he said that Chubais was capable of switching the sewer system throughout the country. I would like to respond and ask you to convey my words to Gozman. Here I will quote a statement by OAO Kirovenergo dated last week. That energy company plans to restrict energy supplies to 11 non-payers.

In particular, on August 19 Kirovenergo planned to cut off the energy supply to the sewage drainage station MP MUP Pervomayets if the enterprise failed to pay its debts. Quote this for Mr. Gozman in response to his giggling. He ought to know that for shit to go down the drain, including the shit so actively produced by SPS, energy is needed. Unfortunately, the monopolist in the energy sphere in our country is Chubais, and the energy supply to the sewage system will continue to be cut off as long as Chubais works in the housing and utilities complex.

Q: So you are saying that the anti-YABLOKO campaign launched by the SPS is being carried out at the population’s expense?

Mitrokhin: This is what I will say: SPS calls for a ban on “A” category top government officials from holding posts in political parties. We back that initiative but at the same time add that there must also be a ban on combining party posts with posts in companies in which the government has a share, especially in those where the state holds the controlling share. Such combinations are damaging to society. In this case, participation in the running of political parties leads to the financing of those parties directly or indirectly with the funds of those companies.

This is capital for political PR, including 'dirty PR', which means it all affects tariffs, which is namely why regional energy companies, in particular, Mosenergo, insistently attack regional energy commissions with proposals to raise rates by 30-60 per cent.

These funds are also used to maintain health resorts in Sochi, planes, and the purchase of an infinite number of apartments for the company's employees. Why can't they buy flats themselves? Why is Mosenergo doing that? This is all being done at the expense of the population.

Q: Why don't you start legal proceedings against Gozman and the company first?

Mitrokhin: Prior to the election campaign in our country electoral legislation is not effective. Our laws are such that they allow dirty PR-campaigns to be carried out with impunity before the election campaign is officially launched.

You say we should sue them immediately. And if we don't, it means we are bluffing, is that what you mean? By law we cannot do it now. For the time being we are preparing legal action against newspapers that violate media legislation.

Q: Will you sue Gazeta.Ru, too?

Mitrokhin: We will not sue Gazeta.Ru; we are talking with you now. We sue papers only if they deny us a lawful opportunity to respond to our opponents. For instance, now we are preparing a suit against the Gazeta and Moskovskaya Pravda newspapers.

Q: Do you think the SPS leaders Boris Nemtsov and Irina Khakamada have anything to do with the anti-YABLOKO campaign?

Mitrokhin: Of course, neither Nemtsov nor Khakamada are the masterminds behind the campaign. They may not know about it, however. You gain the impression that they do. I cannot believe that Nemtsov and Khakamada know nothing of PR-campaigns that require such huge expenses, worthy of being included in the Guinness Book of Records.

That is probably is why they avoid answering directly the questions I have put in my open letter. It appears that they still have some conscience left.

Q: What are these mega-projects that you have been talking about?

Mitrokhin: They are special projects. For instance we have reports of a PR-campaign entitled 'YABLOKO without Yavlinsky'. In particular, in Novosibirsk our former co-chairman Sergei Araslanov was offered $200,000 to participate in the elections under the motto 'The YABLOKO Movement without Yavlinsky'. He alone was offered $200,000. Can you imagine the scale of this campaign?

Q: After all this, is a peace pact still possible between SPS and YABLOKO?

Mitrokhin: Let them stop all their provocative moves: the publications made to order in the regional and federal press.

Q: Why doesn’t Grigory Yavlinsky defend the interests of his party in such a complicated situation?

Mitrokhin: And why should Yavlinsky do that? It is my job to clear away this mess. I am in charge of the party's election campaign, whereas Yavlinsky is a political leader and it is not his job to do this.


See also:

State Duma elections 2003


Housing and Utilities Reform

YABLOKO Against Corruption

gazeta.ru, September 2, 2003

[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]

Project Director: Vyacheslav Erohin e-mail: admin@yabloko.ru Director: Olga Radayeva, e-mail: english@yabloko.ru
Administrator: Vlad Smirnov, e-mail: vladislav.smirnov@yabloko.ru