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December 1, 2001
Gleb Pavlovsky: “Kremlin-3”
Controversy between officials displayed in press may open the way to “a third force”

Political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky gives Strana.Ru his view on tough political polemics in the Russian media.

QUESTION: During the last few weeks, you spoke time and again about discord within the Kremlin team. What did you mean?

ANSWER: Nothing more than difference in approaches within a common cause. I am speaking about a clash of concepts, not a clash of groups. The Kremlin is about different people, but they will have to work together. In case, of course, they want to work with Putin.

QUESTION: Is it possible to work together while having different concepts?

ANSWER: But it was this way before too. You are talking about "the team," but it consists of different people. It is common knowledge. Do Kasyanov and Illarionov, Sechin and Yastrzhembsky, Ivanov and Ivanov come from one and the same college? It is not differences that are dangerous. The danger I spoke about lies elsewhere; it is factions emerging within the stuff. And it will be silly of Putin if he allows the team to break into factions: "Kremlin-1," "Kremlin-2"… Incidentally, the term has been borrowed from the working material of the hot summer of 1999; it is originally a combat agitation term, so to say. Obviously, the combat mounts stood too long in the stables of stability. But there is also the real Kremlin. And the only one.

When we say: "Putin has won," we mean precisely himself and his real team. Today these different people are going through yet another trial. And they will cope if they are really a team.

QUESTION: But what is to be done now, considering those stories the sides write about each other in the press?

ANSWER: The thing is, "the sides" as you say seem to have written nothing! The press carries a lot of contract articles. Some produce a clearly ridiculous impression, when editors put them in a box, emphasizing that such and such material is printed as an advertisement, for money. Many articles belong to neither side, they clearly belong to some third side. Obviously to someone who is interested in fanning internal Kremlin disputes. It means that some "third force," "Kremlin-3," interferes with our discussions. And we should have expected that. For example, they write: "Voloshin is the chief family representative to Putin." Can one imagine that this story has been invented by people who work with Putin and know him well? Would the President really tolerate some "representative" beside himself?

QUESTION: Who is that "third force," "Kremlin-3;" is it also in the Kremlin?

ANSWER: I don't think so, it is someone with a grudge, someone who has been alienated. I do not want to make guesses, but we will try to find out. The Moscow press has become more transparent; "journalism with a gasoline can" is finding it difficult to hide inside. I think, it is one of those people who urgently need political destabilization. The easiest method is to launch it from within the staff, alas. And this is the reason why I am coming out for debureaucratization of domestic politics and civic control forms development.

QUESTION: But you insist that the country is facing a serious turning point, that Putin even has to choose…

ANSWER: Yes I do, but not between several officials, even top-ranking ones! Russia is making a choice in several sectors simultaneously - foreign policy, economy, where debureaucratization is in progress, the judiciary reform, which, incidentally, has not yet been passed through the Federation Council, and the military reform. The choice is being made in the country, not in the offices. Do you imagine the scale of Russia's steep turn towards Europe and the West? Do you imagine the scale of tasks that will have to be tackled in this connection within the next few months?!

Press likes looking for "a clash between the hawks and the doves in the Kremlin." For some reason, they think the Western investor should be attracted by our heroic efforts to go back to normal at a risk of breaking our neck. I think, it is the other way around. It is unnecessary to scare the West with "specters," the West is fearful as it is. It is as little prepared to believe in a long-term normalization in Russia as some people inside the staff. Never mind, everyone will have to believe.

QUESTION: Will the Prosecutor General's Office believe?

ANSWER: The Prosecutor's Office will not be stopped by articles and televised shows, it is as bad old form as the telephone law. Information "dumping" is a habit hailing from the epoch of obscenities, when television cameramen filmed officials washing in company of whores. Present-day shows "behind the glass" are without justice ministers and prosecutors, and that is good. We have the Constitution, courts and human rights organizations, Russian and international. If these are not enough, there is the Strasbourg court. Quite enough for dealing with any prosecutor.

Russian society, incidentally, will do a silly thing too if it permits itself to fall into two fan clubs manipulated by some paid team leaders. Civic society in general should not fuss too much round the Kremlin. We have many real concerns.

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