Congresses and Docs

Memorandum of Political Alternative, an updated version of 1.03.2019

Memorandum of Political Alternative

YABLOKO's Ten Key Programme Issues


YABLOKO's Political Platform Adopted by the 15th Congress, June 21, 2008

The 18th Congress of YABLOKO

RUSSIA DEMANDS CHANGES! Electoral Program for 2011 Parliamentary Elections.

Key resolutions by the Congress:

On Stalinism and Bolshevism
Resolution. December 21, 2009

On Anti-Ecological Policies of Russia’s Authorities. Resolution of the 15th congress of the YABLOKO party No 253, December 24, 2009

On the Situation in the Northern Caucasus. Resolution of the 15th congress of the YABLOKO party No 252, December 24, 2009


YABLOKO’s Political Committee: Russian state acts like an irresponsible business corporation conducting anti-environmental policies


Overcoming bolshevism and stalinism as a key factor for Russia¦µ™s transformation in the 21st century


On Russia's Foreign Policies. Political Committee of hte YABLOKO party. Statement, June 26, 2009


On Iran’s Nuclear Problem Resolution by the Political Committee of the YABLOKO party. October 6, 2009


Anti-Crisis Proposals (Housing-Roads-Land) of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO. Handed to President Medvedev by Sergei Mitrokhin on June 11, 2009

Brief Outline of Sergei Mitrokhin’s Report at the State Council meeting. January 22, 2010


Assessment of Russia’s Present Political System and the Principles of Its Development. Brief note for the State Council meeting (January 22, 2010) by Dr.Grigory Yavlinsky, member of YABLOKO’s Political Committee. January 22, 2010


Address of the YABLOKO party to President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. Political Committee of the YABLOKO party. October 9, 2009


The 17th Congress of YABLOKO




The 16th Congress of Yabloko

Photo by Sergei Loktionov

The 12th congress of Yabloko

The 11th congress of Yabloko

The 10th congress of Yabloko

Moscow Yabloko
Yabloko for Students
St. Petersburg Yabloko
Khabarovsk Yabloko
Irkutsk Yabloko
Kaliningrad Yabloko(eng)
Novosibirsk Yabloko
Rostov Yabloko
Yekaterinburg Yabloko
(Sverdlovsk Region)

Krasnoyarsk Yabloko
Ulyanovsk Yabloko
Tomsk Yabloko
Tver Yabloko(eng)
Penza Yabloko
Stavropol Yabloko

Action of Support





Programme by candidate for the post of Russian President Grigory Yavlinsky. Brief Overview

My Truth

Grigory Yavlinsky at Forum 2000, Prague, 2014

YABLOKO-ALDE conference 2014

Grigory Yavlinsky : “If you show the white feather, you will get fascism”

Grigory Yavlinsky: a coup is started by idealists and controlled by rascals

The Road to Good Governance

Risks of Transitions. The Russian Experience

Grigory Yavlinsky on the Russian coup of August 1991

A Male’s Face of Russia’s Politics

Black Sea Palaces of the New Russian Nomenklatura


The Hidden Cause of the Great Recession (And How to Avert the Nest One)

by Dr. Grigory Yavlinsky

On the results of the Conference “Migration: International Experience and Russia’s Problems” conducted by the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (the ALDE party)

Moscow, April 6, 2013

International Conference "Youth under Threat of Extremism and Xenophobia. A Liberal Response"
conducted jointly by ELDR and YABLOKO. Moscow, April 21, 2012. Speeches, videos, presentations

What does the opposition want: to win or die heroically?
Moskovsky Komsomolets web-site, July 11, 2012. Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky by Yulia Kalinina.

Building a Liberal Europe - the ALDE Project

By Sir Graham Watson

Lies and legitimacy
The founder of the Yabloko Party analyses the political situation. Article by Grigory Yavlinsky on radio Svoboda. April 6, 2011

Algorithms for Opposing Gender Discrimination: the International and the Russian Experience

YABLOKO and ELDR joint conference

Moscow, March 12, 2011

Reform or Revolution

by Vladimir Kara-Murza

Is Modernisation in Russia Possible? Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky and Boris Titov by Yury Pronko, "The Real Time" programme, Radio Finam, May 12, 2010

Grigory Yavlinsky's interview to Vladimir Pozner. The First Channel, programme "Pozner", April 20, 2010 (video and transcript)

Overcoming the Totalitarian Past: Foreign Experience and Russian Problems by Galina Mikhaleva. Research Centre for the East European Studies, Bremen, February 2010.

Grigory Yavlinsky: Vote for the people you know, people you can turn for help. Grigory Yavlinsky’s interview to the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, October 8, 2009

Grigory Yavlinsky: no discords in the tandem. Grigory Yavlinsky’s interview to the Radio Liberty
September 22, 2009

A Credit for Half a Century. Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky by Natalia Bekhtereva, Radio Russia, June 15, 2009

Sergei Mitrokhin's Speech at the meeting with US Preseident Barack Obama. Key Notes, Moscow, July 7, 2009

Mitrokhin proposed a visa-free regime between Russia and EU at the European liberal leaders meeting
June 18, 2009

by Grigory Yavlinsky

European Union chooses Grigory Yavlinsky!
Your vote counts!

Reforms that corrupted Russia
By Grigory Yavlinsky, Financial Times (UK), September 3, 2003

Grigory Yavlinsky: "It is impossible to create a real opposition in Russia today."
Moskovsky Komsomolets, September 2, 2003

Alexei Arbatov: What Should We Do About Chechnya?
Interview with Alexei Arbatov by Mikhail Falaleev
Komsomolskaya Pravda, November 9, 2002

Grigory Yavlinsky: Our State Does Not Need People
Novaya Gazeta,
No. 54, July 29, 2002

Grigory Yavlinsky: The Door to Europe is in Washington
Obschaya Gazeta, May 16, 2002

Grigory Yavlinsky's speech.
March 11, 2002

Grigory Yavlinsky's Lecture at the Nobel Institute
Oslo, May 30, 2000



Yabloko: Liberals in Russia

By Alexander Shishlov, July 6, 2009

Position on Some Important Strategic Issues of Russian-American Relations

Moscow, July 7, 2009

The Embrace of Stalinism

By Arseny Roginsky, 16 December 2008

Nuclear Umbrellas and the Need for Understanding: IC Interview With Ambassador Lukin
September 25, 1997

Would the West’s Billions Pay Off?
Los Angeles Times
By Grigory Yavlinsky and Graham Allison
June 3, 1991

A Way to the Future: 2023 Analysis

Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky, 29.12.2023

The series of interviews with the politician and economist, Yabloko party’s leader Grigory Yavlinsky A Way to the Future. The final episode of 2023 series presents the analysis of the last year’s events, suggests conclusions and expectations from the next year.

Ksenia Sverdlova: Hello! This interview is part of A Way to the Future, a series of interviews with the politician and economist Grigory Yavlinsky. My co-presenter is Grigory Grishin.

Grigory Grishin: Hello.

Ksenia Sverdlova: Grigory Yavlinsky, hello.

Grigory Yavlinsky: Hello.

Ksenia Sverdlova: We are talking to you at the end of December 2023. At the end of the year it is standard practice to take stock and I propose talking about the key events of this year.

The first and most important topic is the special military operation in Ukraine.

Grigory Yavlinsky: Well, what can I tell you?

The key goal was not achieved – I mean here a ceasefire. Nothing has changed on the front line: neither side has made advanced at all. Meanwhile people are dying every day.

What is more, circumstances have developed in such a way that international events have distracted Ukraine’s allies from the policy that they had been conducting in respect of Ukraine and the country has to a large extent lost the support that it had previously enjoyed. For example, at present we know that America’s legislators have gone on their Christmas and New Year holidays without adopting any decision on further support and aid to Ukraine. This is a very sensitive and serious development for Ukraine.

All this taken together is also related to all the expectations that there had been, and this is the second circumstance… So if the first circumstance was attributable to international developments, for example, in the Middle East, which had distracted the world’s attention from what was going on in Ukraine, this culminated to a material extent in the fact that the country did not receive the aid that it needed … The second key circumstance is that nothing has happened on the front line. The so-called counter-offensive got nowhere, nothing happened, the line of engagement has not changed, except for some miniscule areas, while lots of people have died.

This is something that I have talked about constantly, including with you both. For example, I insisted, and the YABLOKO party insisted, that a ceasefire was vital because there wouldn’t be any changes in 2023. Events have shown this to be the case.

And as there was no advance, at the very least some kind of advance, which had been promised and declared, this led to the third circumstance which is plain for everyone to see — political differences and clashes have escalated in Ukraine. The people there are disillusioned and upset, they have changed or are changing their attitudes about things… Broadly speaking, a great deal is going on there. I don’t think that it would be right for me to talk about this in detail as I am a representative of the politics of another country which started this whole event, so I will not discuss in detail what Ukraine is doing. I have no right to do so.

Grigory Grishin: Nevertheless, at a recent congress of the party, Yabloko demanded that the Russian President and the Ukrainian President start moving towards a ceasefire. What needs to happen to kickstart such talks? We are fully aware that this does not depend only on Russia and Ukraine – this is a more complex situation which may well require the involvement of other parties in this process and the engagement of other forces.

Grigory Yavlinsky: This decision that you mention is based on the formula “do what is right, come what may”. This is a very important formula and this is the formula of human dignity.

As in the past, we continue to believe that nothing is more important than the lives of individuals and a cessation of the hostilities. It is true that at present we see no grounds for believing that this will happen. It is true that as in the past none of the key players — Russia, Ukraine, US, the European Union – want a ceasefire. It is already far more difficult to make sense of the views, for example, of the countries backing Ukraine and Ukraine itself. Previously, they held, frankly speaking, some delusional ideas about the situation. Now it is impossible to even imagine that anyone still adheres to such fantasy thinking. Meanwhile human life was put on the back burner and continues to remain irrelevant to the different factions. And this is the key issue that I would like to stress to you specifically in our conversation today.

That is why we adopted such a decision, we made a public and categorical appeal to the leaders responsible for adopting a decision on a ceasefire… And this is because we stand up for human life, including both the lives of our citizens and Ukrainian citizens, but also our own citizens. We are defending these lives, their lives and that is why we opted to issue an appeal in this format. Today we are probably the only political structure in the world to issue such appeals.

Well this is because we understand how events will develop going forward. It turned out we were right, in fact we have been talking about this for more than a year. And already when the situation became acute, I mean here in February 2023, we publicly, I declared publicly that a ceasefire was vital. I called the text, you might say this was a passionate appeal – “Just Stop!” Well you remember how much muck was slung at me over that.  However, what do those same people think today, those people who back then rejected this appeal out of hand, and even dragged me through the mud? For they are responsible for all the people who died this year, they are each personally responsible.

Grigory Grishin: To the best of my understanding, recently the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi effectively repeated everything that you wrote in the article “Just Stop”, or at the very least some of the talking points there.

Grigory Yavlinsky: That is indeed true. This is because it was evident back in November 2022. This was the moment when a ceasefire became a viable option.

Incidentally, if anyone plans to go into politics, I would simply like to stress here that they should try to note for themselves and remember, by drawing on this painful, grievous and bloody example: politics is organised in such a way that if you miss out on a chance at one particular moment in time, you can never get it back, you can never go back there. This particular moment might pertain to the current situation in your country, might concern international relations or might be related to global events.

There was a window of opportunity when it was possible to achieve a ceasefire and then start negotiations. They would have been complex, protracted and contradictory, but people would not have died, they would still have a future. Now the situation is far more critical and any party agreeing today to any negotiations would have to be ready to accept far worse conditions.

This is because today the situation is virtually developing all of its own accord. Now there is nothing that you can do. Events will develop in one specific direction. Ukraine must hold elections or won’t hold elections, similarly nobody will answer this question… The results of the year are characterised by all these circumstances taken together. Politics have evolved in such a way that the situation is proceeding in this direction.

Admittedly, this does not mean, so to speak, that triumphant communiques on the part of Russia will have any positive political significance. These are simply tactical events. Meanwhile the mood in Ukraine and developments there do not bode well.

Grigory Grishin: In other words, to put it simply, however bad the situation is in Ukraine, nothing good will come of it for Russia?

Grigory Yavlinsky: This will have a direct impact…

Grigory Grishin: Direct, I would say even the opposite.

Grigory Yavlinsky: Yes, a direct impact on everything that will happen in Russia. And nobody is considering this factor at all, nobody is taking it into account.

Ksenia Sverdlova: In actual fact, has Russia or Ukraine achieved anything tactically or strategically during the confrontation? You just said that the line of engagement has effectively not changed, in other words, in terms of territory, basically status quo. Did the parties in the conflict achieve any benefit at all during this year?

Grigory Yavlinsky: Well, I don’t know how to characterise it. For example, the line of defence established by Russia turned out to be so powerful that it was too much for Ukraine, Ukraine couldn’t achieve anything. This was a technical military decision. I don’t know the extent to which it is indicative of the 21st century, but this is how things worked out.

As to the scale of the losses, this is unknown, nobody knows the magnitude of the losses of both sides. It is hardly worth relying on the scale of the losses declared by the opposing sides, because no information is reliable in war time. None of the figures, on call-ups, volunteers, and on the other hand, the emigrants who do not want to participate in this operation, who do not want to go to the front line, discussions of the topic of the call-up of women, so that women start serving in the army, this is also a topical issue today. It is also impossible to discuss all these issues because the context is that this in the public domain, the mass media, online, in social networks – how can you rely on any of this information? You can’t.

I can only say one thing: in general, this is a tragic situation. The outgoing year did not bring any changes which might give us serious hope that the killing will stop and as a result all these people will have a future, there will be future for these people, for countries, for everything. And that is it. And this is also proceeding in a global context which also raises a number of issues and concerns regarding the lack of clarity on what the future may hold.

Grigory Grishin: So many expectations, I simply don’t even know how to quantify the wave of expectations placed this year on the counter-offensive. It was mythologised, it was anticipated as some kind of manna from heaven, but in the end none of these expectations materialised. How do you assess in this respect the quality of military expertise in the West and in general the state of political analysis?

Grigory Yavlinsky: I would say the following on this matter. As in many other areas, the situation looks as follows. Naturally, you have professionals, and naturally you have secret services. They mess up sometimes, professionals can make mistakes, but in general this tends to happen. However, the distance from these professional circles to politicians is so vast that we are simply looking at two different worlds.

For example, it turns out that General Mark Milley, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had already said in autumn last year (I was unaware of this fact at the time) that the war should be stopped as there was no chance of victory. So there you have the opinion of a true professional. Only nobody wanted to listen to him, politicians don’t want to hear this.

They prefer not to listen… They can opt not to listen to the military, they can choose not to hear what the doctors are saying, they can opt not to listen to professionals on climate change, they don’t care that they say. And this is the defining characteristics of politics today. The political class is completely detached from the intellectual class. And that is why we have what we have in the world.

Grigory Grishin: However, this is deplorable…

Grigory Yavlinsky: They are totally detached from universities, they have broken all ties with professionals and specialists, they steer clear of any real experts. They attract anyone who will benefit their cause, anyone who will tell them what they want to hear. So the serious and large-scale expert community is at were kept on the fringes of politics. And this is happening everywhere, both in Europe and the United States. In general, these are the distinctive features of today’s political life.

Moreover, this is also linked to the networks, this is also attributable to new digital technologies. We are still not even talking here about artificial intelligence, that is something else altogether… A year from now we will conduct a similar interview, and we won’t know what has hit us, because it is developing at frightening speed, it is simply frightening, and nobody can perceive definitely where it is taking us and how far it will all go.

So this is one angle if we are talking about politicians. They say what they want, what they believe to be significant. At the same time, such events as history related to Ukraine, this would appear to be a peripheral matter for them right now, they are keeping their distance. Well this has also been demonstrated by all these votes in the US… This is becoming a peripheral issue, they need to build a wall with Mexico, they have something to do there. What is the key matter there? The key is that elections are just round the corner…

Grigory Grishin: Elections, yes. They have no time for Ukraine – Trump…

Grigory Yavlinsky: Well in the context of the impending elections, what is there to talk about, what is that about… ? And Ukraine is considered just some local conflict.

However, the world is also changing. All you need to do is look at how authoritarian systems at different levels, from dictatorships to simply authoritarian models, how they are recognised increasingly globally and are gaining more and more influence, while democratic systems are becoming economically and politically more and more limited. In other words, to put it differently, the vision of life that you and I in particular grew up with, it is now facing major challenges.

And events are developing in such a way that the world is evolving in some other direction. For the time being, nobody can explain what is going on, but all these attributes… If we lived in an era of professional politics, then someone might be able to assess the consequences of events from a new world position, for example, in Ukraine, the Middle East, etc., in Taiwan. However, practically nobody can do this. This is due, inter alia, to the radical gulf, the immense, profound and radical gulf between politicians and the intellectual class.

In response to your question, I can say the following. It is a sad fact that in reality the establishment in the West has never treated the events in Ukraine as particularly important. Well they would give money, they would say what fitted in with the mood at the time, things that sound good, and that was it, as they were preoccupied with other problems. They were preoccupied with problems of influence in South-East Asia, for example. Why? Because this concerns the outlook for trade. They are preoccupied with squabbles with the People’s Republic of China. Why?  Because this is a big economy.

Meanwhile they can see no financial benefit from this conflict. Wherever money is not involved, there is limited interest. People’s lives are irrelevant, here no money is involved, so…  So what is there to talk about here? However, this is our world, this is the world where our children will live. And this requires a different philosophy, different philosophical relations, philosophical and political relations regarding developments.

For example … perhaps we won’t discuss this too much right now… however, look at what is happening when it comes to assessing the events in Israel, for example – we are seeing a complete rupture, rift in all the world’s universities, the world’s key universities, a split between Palestine and Israel.

Ksenia Sverdlova: Incidentally this goes back to what happened in Israel on 7 October. The total number of victims there among civilians was tenfold the number of victims from the act of terrorism in the USA on 11 September 2001. However, in actual fact the anti-Israel sentiment mood increased rapidly all over the world. This was not the case in 2001. The act of terrorism itself was assessed differently back then. Why did this happen? Does this mean we are witnessing the actual transformation of the world over 20 years, or does something here depend on the perpetrators?

Grigory Yavlinsky: This is a very serious issue. To put it briefly, people are right who claim that even the brightest minds in our world are unable at present to differentiate between good and evil. This is a very serious fact.

However, it could be said that the key here is what happened back then or the direct consequences of the act of terrorism in 2001. To put it briefly, the defeat of the United States in Iraq afterwards and defeat in Afghanistan, and this was followed by further defeats on after the other and still going on in Syria and Libya… I could go on and on with the list. So there you have it. That is why we now have a different attitude. So when the world supported all this, the reaction led to a whole series of fiascos and setbacks. The only result was this actual act of terrorism simply has not been repeated like the others…

Grigory Grishin: It is not repeated in this form.

Grigory Yavlinsky: Yes, it is not repeated in this form, in this place. Yes, for the time being it has not been repeated.

Grigory Grishin: In other words, back then to all intents and purposes the wrong strategy was selected?

Grigory Yavlinsky: I published an article in the Financial Times where I expressed my opinion that nothing good would come from the war in Iraq, explaining the nature of the regime in Iraq and the goals that could be attained and how to achieve them.

I was asked by a senior figure in the US administration why I adhered to such a position. So I tried to tell them a story .. Incidentally, this was a conversation in the White House, right in the office…

I said: Imagine that you intend to hunt big animals in the jungle, I don’t know, lions, tigers, maybe elephants. So you decide about the weapons to take: some rifles, maybe some traps. And so on. Then you enter the jungle and are attacked by deadly poisonous mosquitoes. What can you do about this?  This was followed by a minute’s silence in the office? Then one of the assistants to this individual, the senior official, said to me: “Well, we will bomb mosquito nests!”  And I said: “That’s right, you are also doing something similar now. However, the problem is that mosquitoes don’t have nests.”

A completely different policy is needed. You need a policy where you drain the swamp, a different policy. You need an irrigation policy, a different policy. This should be a policy linked to education, medicine, some historical and cultural facts. So this is actually what you need to do. However, you won’t achieve anything by bombing “mosquito nests.” And this is what we got, this is a fact.

I am not talking now about developments in the Middle East, I am talking about how mankind misses out the most important opportunities and ends up facing a very deplorable result. I am not even talking about the technical issues, why not a single intelligence service in the world, you asked me about this, did not see that something was brewing there, why nobody did anything… I put to one side these questions, this requires a special discussion and this is not a discussion for you and me, incidentally, about the political problems in Israel or Palestine, and how they will find a mutual understanding. However, it was an unbelievably bloody act of terrorism in terms of scale committed by Hamas. It is totally inexplicable. It was clear what the response would be. Meanwhile it remains unclear how events will develop there.

So you see that we have another issue where the outcome is unclear. For the past year, not only does the Ukrainian issue remain unclear – so does the situation which has developed in the Middle East. After all, 1,200 people were killed by the terrorists, while 240-250 people were taken hostage. I don’t know how many of them will survive: we already know that many of them have died… Well what is the pattern of behaviour in this case? We know the answer: Who started it… Who started it, the perpetrator will receive a response…

You don’t need to look deep to understand; when 1,200 people die, you are already talking about a completely different conversation. It is no longer so much about politics as simply a response in this vein: who started it. And then you find that the argument about who started is not enough, so the events will move on to the issue of who is stronger. How this political decision will look is a different matter, but for the time being the events keep unfolding…

When I was a schoolboy, those were times when relations would to a large extent be decided on the street. Back then we lived according to such rules: whoever struck first, whoever started it…

Grigory Grishin: …Then

Grigory Yavlinsky: And then it was a case of whoever was stronger. So there you have it, everything works in this way. How else?

Ksenia Sverdlova: Grigory Alekseyevich, the Russian President has also reacted in different ways to the acts of terrorism in 2001 and 2023. For in 2001 Putin was one of the first leaders to call the US President, expressed his condolences and offered to help in any way possible. In 2023, if I am not mistaken, to date he has not expressed clearly his attitude to Hamas actions and the tragedy. Why is that the case?

Grigory Yavlinsky: This is my personal point of view: I think that Putin’s call in that case was entirely different. I may be saying this for the first time. It was entirely different. He called to say: “Well, what do you think about Chechnya, now? Didn’t I explain to you so many times that Chechnya means terrorism? Here you have it. Do you understand?” However, they accepted it and proceeded differently, as they hadn’t understood him.

Grigory Grishin: Words of condolence.

Grigory Yavlinsky: However, I think that the call was to say: “Well, how about it? You are suffocating us all. All the time you won’t let us do this or that…” This had happened just then, in autumn 1999, everything only unfolded in 2000. And he called to ask: “Well then?…”

Grigory Grishin: “How do you like it?”

Grigory Yavlinsky: “So what about it? Right? How come you were telling us what to do? And there you have it, and subsequently, they had a conversation.

Now this is a different story. Today Vladimir Putin is interested in having allies and supporters, and as the Americans are Israel’s allies, he has done everything that he could to win to his side all the…

Grigory Grishin: …anti-Israel..

Grigory Yavlinsky: …rest. As the phrase goes, this is nothing personal, nothing personal. Because he then said that naturally Israel has the right to self-defence, and thereby expressed his attitude on this matter. However, the bottom line here, this is the crux of the matter: “Sorry, but this is geopolitics, I need these one hundred million Arabs in the East because I oppose America. What else can I do? This is why I am behaving like this.”

Grigory Grishin: “We are with these guys on this.”

Grigory Yavlinsky: Meanwhile some people didn’t understand his position, didn’t understand and then the events unravelled there in Makhachkala, because they suspected that this was some anti-Semitic approach, whereas it wasn’t, this was purely a geopolitical chess move: we are interested in this, so we will be on their side.

Once again the crux of the matter here can be summed up as follows: here human values are being replaced by such political constructs, such political, geopolitical and other forms of cynicism. Here it has simply been replaced. You have a different type of politics, it is simply different and nothing more. The politics formed after World War II have been put on the back burner. Meanwhile, these pragmatic approaches are coming to the fore. And this is all very dangerous.

I would like to stress once more that there is no justification for what Hamas did against Israel, none at all. So this inability to differentiate good from evil is becoming… Countries aren’t created in this way, colonisation and decolonisation issues are not resolved in this way. When you kill children, you are killing unarmed people, you won’t resolve anything in this way, nothing will be resolved here. And the thing that the world doesn’t understand to date – it is this very worrying sign, this red flag with the  dangerous risk of escalation in any direction.

I returned to this issue on purpose because it is very telling, it is very important. It is very important, because the intellectual inability to assess events politically applies not only to this period, it applies to everything, including the events between Russia and Ukraine, inter alia, that is why these events occurred, and to a large extent extends to how Putin explains why these events occurred. You have issues which need to be understood, but nobody wants to — nobody is answering these questions. Everyone gives it the cold shoulder as it were. However, when you look down on things all the time and 11 September happens and you have all these horrors, all this happens. In a way you could call it a response: “Ah, so this is beneath you? In that case we want to show you something.” So this is the scale of such affairs.

Grigory Grishin: This is not even weakness – this is the intellectual absence of any will.

Grigory Yavlinsky: This is also true. They simply don’t care. For this is not an issue where you can make billions, so why is it of any interest… Nothing to write home about there.

Grigory Grishin: However, then you have the issue of goals.

Grigory Yavlinsky: What is the goal here? Here you have such a goal, a political goal, it is just some kind of a distraction. However, interests are something else.

This is the very same topic as disarmament was 10 years ago after the end of the Cold War. Instead of allocating this money to help the third world develop and open up a path to the future for people and handle this actual, if you want, political irrigation that I just talked to you about..  … Nothing of the kind was done. On the contrary, a financial bubble was hyped up, the economy played second fiddle while finances took centre stage. This happened in 2007. However, it came up once back in 2001 before a response was given to this question. Nothing was done. And there you have it.

Incidentally in this respect in the 1990s Yabloko spoke up and sent via Václav Havel through his forum at the United Nations a comprehensive project that worldwide education was needed as way to tackle terrorism, worldwide education for children, three years, and three years should be offered for free. This should have been done. All this has been missed, there were all these opportunities that were missed. Now the world and politics in the world will be built and develop proceeding from the fact that we simply dropped the ball and let slip all these opportunities.

It goes without saying that everything will be shut out by elections, next year will be a year of endless elections. If I recall correctly, 70 elections will be held globally…

Grigory Grishin: Ukraine, the European Union, the United States …

Grigory Yavlinsky: Yes, there will be an infinite number, there will be so many elections. And I think that everything will be overshadowed by them, while the crux of the events is what we are discussing here.

This concerns Europe, this also concerns the crisis in Europe itself. And today Europe is facing a number of serious, critical challenges because the number of member states of the European Union is increasing and it doesn’t how to respond adequately to this issue … And so on.

Grigory Grishin: In this respect, Russian television propaganda feels very confident because everything that they predicted is happening or at the very least what they were intimating. And the key is that they have the necessary bedrock: the Russian economy is doing fine.

Grigory Yavlinsky: I personally believe that the Central Bank of Russia is working very well in these current circumstances. It is simply doing everything correctly in the current circumstances. Admittedly, the middle class will die out in Russia and will not recover for the foreseeable future, but this is a totally different conversation… Because today 40% of the budget…

Well how is the Russian economy structured today? Defence and security account for 40% for the budget, including the military industrial complex, while the poorest population strata account for 60%. Meanwhile all the rest of the population, this social group represents 15%.

Grigory Grishin: Already 16%.

Grigory Yavlinsky: 16%, well, 15–16%, that is all. You include mortgages there, 16%, that this is all. And the vast subsidies go to them, while very high wages are paid in the defence sector. Of course, today the monthly salary there is 100,000, 120,000 or 130,000, because there is a dearth of staff, because you have four shifts or three shifts… It is hard to even imagine how long each shift lasts, 6 hours, probably … However, this is proceeding continuously, and the employment rate is very high.

However, this then leads to the question – what can you buy with this? And this leads to the issue of foreign currency, and this is the next issue, whether the sale of foreign currency proceeds by exporters is mandatory or not and to what extent. Well goods are being exported…

So you ask how the Russian economy is formed – simply you need to understand that the Russian economy or Russia as an economic subject is part of the world and no sanctions will do anything here. This is not Iran, this is a completely different story. Why? Because everyone is vitally interested in Russian resources and these resources will reach their destination in some way or other, all the same. Because this is like air.

Let me give you a more graphic example: to date a gas pipeline passes through Ukraine and gas is supplied, and in parallel with all these events there are constant discussions about how much needs to be paid for transportation, everything  … And the bureaucracy in Moscow calmly discusses these issues with the bureaucracy located somewhere in Kiev,  adopts decisions, there is a slight increase, something else is added and the work continues.

Grigory Grishin: Nord Stream is blown up, meanwhile the Ukrainian gas pipeline…

Grigory Yavlinsky: Yes, it is blown up, and this gas pipeline, amid all the developments, continues…

Grigory Grishin: Despite the daily bombings…

Grigory Yavlinsky: Yes, it continues working. Well you can see that this says a great deal.

Or take the vast supplies of oil. For example, vast supplies of oil are sent to India, but where they do go afterwards? To Europe. Or the fact that Russia has actually created an entire shadow fleet to transport the oil where you want and you have whole countries which have an interest, whole countries, including in Europe. Well there you have it, this does not resolve anything and it could not be any other way. We are not even talking here about metals, rare-earth metals which are irreplaceable, there is nothing to replace them with.

In other words, Russia is the world’s base for commodities. That’s right, commodities. What do I mean by commodities here? I mean here the commodities required for cutting-edge technologies and breakthrough technologies, naturally here different issues will arise. However, everything that is needed, even if it is included in the sanctions, ends up reaching its destination.. I don’t recall, imports from Armenia, from Kazakhstan have increased one hundred fold….. How could that happen… ? Simply it is all sent there… Georgia… Everything is procured there, and then still ends up here.

Grigory Grishin: The famous Belarusian prawns.

Grigory Yavlinsky: Well indeed. And this was not taken into account when they issued these 12 sanctions passage…

Ksenia Sverdlova: How on earth could they fail to take this into account?

Grigory Yavlinsky: Well just like nobody could have imagined the idea of liberalising prices in one day. Right? And end up with 2,600% hyperinflation.

Ksenia Sverdlova: This is a question about the level of expert knowledge.

Grigory Yavlinsky: That’s right. And this is about the extent to which they think seriously and responsibly about this. You understand what their attitude is … well this is the last of their priorities .. it is not one of their key interests. And this is the disconnect from the intellectual potential – it all leads to this. When they wanted to do something good, they created inflation and hyperinflation of 2,600%; when they decided to punish something there, they also could not do anything. So there you have it.

It is true that the sanctions will have an impact, there will be difficulties when it comes to technology. However, this will happen in future and this concerns technology prospects, this does not concern life today. Look at how people live in Moscow, look at how the city is getting ready for the New Year. It is all so obvious.

Grigory Grishin: Life in Moscow continues as usual, the economy is working …

The number of political prisoners in Russia increases every year, now there are more than 600 political prisoners. Grigory Alekseyevich, do you see any trends which might change this situation? Do you have any indicators that there will be less next year?

Grigory Yavlinsky: There are no grounds for believing that this will happen. This is very painful and serious. I am not optimistic.

We need to remember them, support them, write to them, support their families and simply do this constantly. Meanwhile the political opinions of the political prisoners are irrelevant.

Ksenia Sverdlova: It goes without saying that over the past two years, the topic of political prisoners has hit Yabloko hard. Yabloko is taking a lot of risks by working and continuing to work. What are the party’s prospects next year?

Grigory Yavlinsky: This is how I see the work of our party: if the country is to have a path to the future, we must do what we believe to be right. And we believe in human dignity, human life and human freedom. We believe in this, we hold that this is important when it comes to the future of our planet if you want, and that if we don’t manage this to make this an urgent and special priority, then the degradation of global politics, the collapse of the political institutions formed after World War II, and digital technologies with artificial intelligence together, will simply get rid of people, and the sense of human life in this respect will be lost to a large extent. So the issue of how to maintain the meaning of human life, man as the image of God, man as a being worthy of a future, this should underpin Yabloko’s work, in particular, in Russia.

Russia is our country, we are Russian citizens, we are dedicated to Russia. We do not agree by any means with everything, but that is not the point: in this case, the future is contingent on having at least someone who understands this future and is looking for the path to this future, the path to the future and promotes key human values. It follows that there is such a conceptual idea of the institutionalisation of values and this is a major challenge facing all mankind and Russia in particular.

So Yabloko is the only such structure and political structure that is left. Everyone has their own fate, nobody knows, things can go this away or that. However, we will go down our path, as I have already said, do what’s right, come what may.

Grigory Grishin: What do you expect to happen next year and what you would want to happen? What are your expectations and what are your wishes?

Grigory Yavlinsky: That people are not killed. That people understand at last that nothing is more important than a ceasefire. Nothing is more important, this is the key. And that people start to realise that the world order is changing and that all politics globally are changing, and that they must choose the overriding issue, let me repeat again: that people are not killed and there is an understanding about what we mean when we talk about a modern world. So there you have it. If there was any progress in these two directions next year…

However, to be more specific, I continue to insist that a ceasefire agreement is needed, followed by negotiations arising from the ceasefire. I believe that it is extremely important that a model appears in the Middle East after the events happening right now, afterwards. Once the military actions have ended, they will end at some point… So the military actions will end and then what? Well…

I would also say that a very important issue is, forgive the expression, that the elections will end in the United States.

Grigory Grishin: They have a favourite…

Grigory Yavlinsky: Yes, there is… If someone told me that there might be civil clashes, I would not be surprised. And this is how things are in actual fact.

The following topic is how the elections in Taiwan end in January, whether the party that wants Taiwan to be incorporated in China wins or not and how events will develop there.

If this is not enough, I will also add here that the issue of how the configuration of the European Union will change and what it will do about new member states has not be resolved. How the negotiations with Ukraine will proceed – this is a very, very serious and complex issue.

Ksenia Sverdlova: Grigory Alekseyevich, you didn’t mention among key events next year the elections in Russia, the presidential elections. Will they change anything in the world?

Grigory Yavlinsky: No they merely confirm everything that is happening. This is akin to a referendum or plebiscite. Accordingly, it is highly unlikely that anything will change … To put it differently “it is highly unlikely” – this is an intelligent turn of phrase. Of course, nothing will change. However, this will be big propaganda, a propaganda event. Peskov has already announced the results, they are well known…

Individuals should feel that there is nothing more important than a ceasefire. Today people don’t have such an understanding. Accordingly, there are no such options.

Grigory Grishin: However, what should the programme of a presidential candidate be at these elections?

Grigory Yavlinsky: Actually, this is quite simple.

The first point on the programme is the actual ceasefire, the exchange of prisoners, the investigation of military crimes, the start of diplomatic negotiations. That is the first point.

Second point – this is the abolition of the repressive laws and the release of all political prisoners. I believe that there should be no political prisoners in Russia, none at all, neither right-wing, nor left-wing, or people who have no specific views at all.

Third point – this is vast work on restoring relations with the world. It will be very complex, inter alia, because it is unclear how the world will develop. However, it is clear what we should not allow to happen: we must not allow a new Cold War, which might turn hot. Accordingly, you must stop the arms race, so this definitely requires nuclear safety.

Naturally, we need political reform in Russia. Without political reform, which is based on regular regime change through honest elections, the independence of the judiciary…

Finally, on this basis I would call the modern economy the fifth point, the creation of a modern economy, as well as the reform of healthcare and education.

However, in general this entire programme should create equal opportunities for all Russian citizens. I would confirm that my main goal and the main point would be to create equal opportunities for all Russian citizens regardless of whether they live in Moscow, the Urals, Siberia, Yakutia,  Russia’s Far East, Kaliningrad, or somewhere else. If you were born in Russia, you should have de facto equal opportunities. This is a very serious system, this is the system of a new world.

Ksenia Sverdlova: Grigory Alekseyevich, you said that in your opinion people don’t understand the need for a ceasefire. However, why do you think that is the case? It simply seems to me that we are talking about political prisoners,  a significant number, we are talking about the fear people have about talking the truth, we are talking about the unrepresentative nature of opinion polls against the backdrop of authoritarian policy. Maybe, simply Russian citizens don’t have access to mechanisms which allow them to express their attitude to the special military operation or declare that a ceasefire is needed?

Grigory Yavlinsky: Perhaps. However, now new opportunities have appeared over the past few months. For example, we proposed collecting signatures to nominate a representative or individual who talks about a ceasefire, and talked about achieving a fairly modest target: let’s collect at least 10% of signatures from the entire electorate who want a ceasefire, who want to nominate this candidate.

Well at present a considerable number of signatures have been collected, but far below the level that you and I talked about. There is no such understanding and no such perception, there have been no such discussions, the topic of a ceasefire is not being promoted on networks, online – there is none of this. There is just nothing. This is their right. However, there will be such consequences that this will be regretted.

Ksenia Sverdlova: What would you wish all the people in the world, including Russians?

Grigory Grishin: Next year, in 2024.

Grigory Yavlinsky: I want people to maintain their human dignity and not allow themselves to become dehumanised. To think all the time about all the people who are dying die. To think all the time about anyone who ends up in prison. To talk all the time about people who are not feeling well. To talk all the time about anyone who is not being helped by the modern healthcare system. To think all the time about children, about their prospects, about their parents, about their lives. Don’t forget, otherwise, it will be impossible to build anything. It is as simple as that. I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Ksenia Sverdlova: Thank you!

Grigory Grishin: Thank you, Grigory Alekseyevich!