| During a prime-time television debate on 10 October on
state-controlled ORT television, Unified Energy Systems (EES) head and
Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) leader Anatolii Chubais defended his recent
comments that Russia should create a "liberal empire." |
In those 25 September remarks, he said that a combination of a market
economy and aggressive expansion should be Russia's ideology for the next
20-30 years. Without economic and political expansion within the CIS and
beyond, Russia cannot preserve its own territorial integrity and resources,
Only by combining liberal values and a program designed to reestablish
its empire "can Russia occupy its natural place alongside the United
States, the European Union, and Japan, the place designated for it by
history," Chubais said.
Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii,
appearing on the same ORT broadcast on 10 October, said that Chubais's
proposal "will lead Russia to clash with its neighbors" and
deflect its citizenry from a more realistic and important goal -- "dismantling
Russian bandit capitalism."
"If we raise the living standard of our 40 million citizens who are
living below the poverty line, if we restore the independent mass media
and an independent judiciary, then Russia will become the center of gravity
within the CIS without creating an empire," Yavlinskii said.
Izvestia.ru on 12 October commented that this is not the first time that
Chubais has advocated a radical populist position during an election campaign.
The website recalled that in 1999 Chubais defended the latest military
action in Chechnya, saying, "The Russian Army will begin its revival
the original at
Yabloko and SPS