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"Svobodni Kurs" (Free Course), Barnaul, December 12, 2002

Freedom or Property?

Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky, by Elena Fyodorinova and Dmitri Negreev

At the request of "Svobodni Kurs" the leader of YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky shared with us his forecasts for the coming year.

Question: Grigory Alexeevich, in your opinion what should our country in 2003? Will the political regime change, what will happen in the State Duma elections, what will happen to inflation, foreign debt payments and will we see late payments of wages and pensions?

Grigory Yavlinsky: Let us start with the economy. Inflation will amount to approximately 12-13 per cent. Foreign debt payments will be made, as Russia is currently able to paying. Total foreign debt payments with due account of restructuring will amount to approximately USD12 - 15 billion . All this is possible, if oil prices are maintained at over 20 dollars per barrel. Wages and pensions will be paid late, even if they are currently envisaged by the budget.

In terms of political forecasts, I don't see any grounds for significant changes. Unfortunately, I think that mistrust in the authorities [by the population] will only grow. The country will move towards elections as follows: an increasingly large number of people will start thinking that they should vote against all or not vote at all. Soon three years will have elapsed since the President has come to office. Normally after three years considerable changes take place in Russia. This was the case in the past and this may happen now. After three years of trust serious fluctuations may take place.

Question: In your opinion how will the new Duma look after the election?

Yavlinsky: It is impossible to predict, as electoral shenanigans are so common that... Who could predict a year before the recent election that the "Unity" party would emerge? However there are no grounds for thinking that the election campaign will develop any other way.

Question: What are the relations between YABLOKO and the SPS [the Union of Right-Wing Forces] at present? Is it possible that the two parties will nominate a single candidate at the presidential elections in 2004?

Yavlinsky: Such a possibility has not been considered.

Question: But there were negotiations between the SPS and YABLOKO on nominating a single candidate by the party that obtains more votes during parliamentary elections?

Yavlinsky: Such negotiations did not take place. Such an idea was voiced by the SPS, but wasn't discussed with us. We don't see any sense here. Our main concern was to create a joint platform for all democrats. And such work has been carried out by decision of the Democratic Assembly. This will be the platform for the coming elections. If we manage to create such a platform, then structural problems can be discussed.

The Development of such a platform represents a resolution of a value-oriented, rather than simply ideological task: who are we? what is our platform? How do we assess the past, the present, the future and the reforms that have been conducted?

Question: To what extent do your values differ from that of the SPS?

Yavlinsky: In some points they differ considerably. We think that the key value is freedom and respect for your fellow man. Whereas they think that property is most important.


See also:


Elections to the State Duma, 2003

Presidential Elections, 2004

"Svobodni Kurs" (Free Course), Barnaul, December 12, 2002

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