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

Ekho Moskvi radio station, March 19, 2003

Grigory Yavlinsky: "Russia should not send a single soldier to the war."

Russian liberal MP backs regime change in Iraq, slams Chechen referendum

BBC Monitoring

The leader of the Russia's centre-right Yabloko party has backed regime change in Iraq, but without the direct use of force. Speaking in an interview with Russian Ekho Moskvy radio on 19 March, Grigory Yavlinsky said a large international contingent should be amassed to bring political and military pressure to bear on Iraq, but that action should stop short of a large-scale military operation. In the same interview, the Yabloko leader also cast doubts on the value of the Chechen referendum, arguing that only a peace conference chaired by the Russian President could alter the situation in the republic.

Regime change in Iraq

Yavlinsky prefaced his comments on the impending war in Iraq by stressing the need for Russia to come out unequivocally against the regime in Baghdad. "It is extremely important for Russia, if it wants to be called a democratic country, to provide a correct assessment of the regime in Baghdad and developments there," he said.

He went on to voice his support for regime change. "Yabloko thinks that it is vital to disarm the regime of Saddam Hussein," said the party leader. "It thinks that it is in Russia's interests to totally change the Baghdad regime."

He then explained how this might be achieved: "Yabloko thinks that military means should be used to achieve this aim,. Yabloko thinks that an enormous, let me stree, an extremely significant international military contingent should be amassed around Iraq and in this region, for an extended period, for the whole transitional period. The task of this contingent would be to bring direct and extremely significant military and political pressure to bear with the aim of disarming and altering the nature of the regime in Baghdad. The contingent would also prevent any civil war that could eruptin Iraq after the change of regime in Baghdad," Yavlinsky told listeners.

He stressed, though, that this should be done through "a cold war, and without the start of large-scale military operations". In particular, "Russia should not send a single soldier to the war... We should not get involved in any military operations", stressed Yavlinsky.

The Yabloko leader then went on to look at the wider problem of the so-called rogue states and other undemocratic regimes. "Iraq is clearly not the last country of this type. It is necessary to understand - first there was an operation in Afghanistan, and now Iraq. And what then? North Korea, and then, well, let's say, Iran, then half of the CIS, then Syria, then Libya. Then we have friendly totalitarian regimes," Yavlinsky commented.

"It is necessary to find a common solution, as this [Iraq] is not the last place in the world where this problem will have to resolved. And here Russia could play a very important role," he stressed.

Asked if he agreed with the opinion of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov that Iraq is not a threat, Yavlinskiy said: "No, this statement by Ivanov, in my view, does not correspondent with reality. Firstly it does not comply with the facts, as Iraq has bacteriological and chemical weapons... You also have to remember that Baghdad finances suicide bombers. These suicide bombers operate in various places. Even Russia has confronted this kind of phenomenon. The sponsoring of suicide bombers and the development of this type of terrorism pose a very serious threat," added Yavlinsky.

Chechen referendum

The interview then moved on to the constitutional referendum to be held in Chechnya on 23 March. Here Yavlinsky sounded a pessimistic note. "I think that the situation will simply stay as it is. And I think that, despite everything, it will be necessary to engage in a realistic and genuine political process to settle the Chechen problem," he remarked.

He then considered further the possibility of a long-term solution to the Chechen conflict. "We think that it is absolutely vital to hold a peace conference on the situation in Chechnya. What's more, we believe that a conference on peace in Chechnya should be held in Moscow. We believe that such a conference should be chaired by the President of Russia. This is crucial," stressed Yavlinsky, adding that the conference should be attended by "all sides in the conflict... except war criminals".

See also:

Situation Around Iraq

War in Chechnya

Ekho Moskvi radio station, March 19, 2003

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