| Interview with Deputy chairman of the YABLOKO
party Sergei Mitrokhin.
Deputy Chairman of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin, in an interview
Gazeta.Ru, has said that he retains the right to sue the top management
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
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.
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,
in turn meant considerable profits.
And this is just one example, and do you know how many there are? We
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
sneered at Yavlinsky when he said that Chubais was capable of switching
sewer system throughout the country. I would like to respond and ask you
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
In particular, on August 19 Kirovenergo planned to cut off the energy
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.
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
the energy sphere in our country is Chubais, and the energy supply to
sewage system will continue to be cut off as long as Chubais works in
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
affects tariffs, which is namely why regional energy companies, in
particular, Mosenergo, insistently attack regional energy commissions
proposals to raise rates by 30-60 per cent.
These funds are also used to maintain health resorts in Sochi, planes,
the purchase of an infinite number of apartments for the company's
employees. Why can't they buy flats themselves? Why is Mosenergo doing
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
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
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
put in my open letter. It appears that they still have some conscience
Q: What are these mega-projects that you have been talking
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.
State Duma elections
YABLOKO and SPS
Housing and Utilities