Johnson's Russia List
1 May 2003
A CDI Project

  1. Reuters: St Petersburg anniversary facelift generates criticism.
  2. Interfax: Polls show 5 parties could be elected to Duma.
  3. Interfax: Gorbachev Denies Allegations of Misappropriation of Funds.
  4. Reuters: Russia official seeks strong US trade ties post Iraq.
  5. Erik Herront: Updated Web Site, Guide to Politics in East Central 
Europe and Eurasia
  6. Harvard Crimson: David Rochelson, Economics Expert, Head of Russian 
Center Dies. (Abram Bergson)
  7. Moscow News: Sergei Roy, Fighter-Missionaries for Russia?
  8. Kennan Institute event summary: Ukraine Between the Elections (2002-04): 
Opportunities and Pitfalls Ahead.

FEATURE-St Petersburg anniversary facelift generates criticism
By Ron Popeski

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, May 1 (Reuters) - The governor of St Petersburg
becomes very irritated at suggestions that he is not doing all he can to
ready Russia's second city for its lavish 300th anniversary this month.

"Get over here and look at this," Vladimir Yakovlev, standing by a display
of city projects, snaps at a reporter who dared to ask about reports of
incompetence and corruption.

"We're tackling things as best as we can. There are so many things to be
done in this city. We can't do everything at once."

With President Vladimir Putin due to host a prestigious gathering of world
leaders in his home town at the end of this month, the onus has been on the
governor to prove that he can deal with the city's numerous problems and
put on a good show.

Leaders of G8 industrialised countries, who admitted Russia to their ranks
as a full member last year, will gather for two days at a tsarist palace on
the Gulf of Finland being renovated virtually from scratch -- but still

Altogether 45 world leaders are expected, with Moscow authorities pumping
in 40 billion roubles ($1.3 billion) to spruce up the city and stage a
worthy party.

Workers are only beginning to dismantle plastic sheeting shrouding showcase
buildings in the city founded on marshland in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great
as a "window on Europe."

Scaffolding has only just been removed from around the Alexander Column in
the vast Palace Square commemorating Russia's 1812 victory over Napoleon.

But much remains to be done. Still under repair are the 18th century Peter
and Paul fortress, burial place of tsars on the river Neva and the
Admiralty building on the opposite bank.

Much of the riverside Winter Palace, focal point of the Bolshevik
revolution and home to the Hermitage's vast art collection, is undergoing a
major face-lift.

Other projects, like restoring the Smolny Cathedral outside the city
government headquarters, have been postponed to ease tension on tight


Outside town at the Konstantinovsky Palace, there is plenty of resolve --
and feverish activity -- as planners urge a workforce of 7,000 to press on
to the wire to emulate the elegance of several other 18th century
residences in the city.

Begun in 1720 by Peter, who had little regard for expense or human life in
undertaking grandiose projects, it was handed by later tsars to lesser
relatives in favour of residences further down the Gulf of Finland.

In Soviet times, it served as a school and then a merchant seamen's college
and suffered severe damage as the area repeatedly changed hands in the
900-day Nazi siege of the city then known as Leningrad. The ceiling
collapsed in a 1986 fire.

But this site, brimming with guards checking even visitors accompanied by
site architects, is funded by sponsorship money channelled through the
federal government in Moscow. Some jobs are proceeding round the clock.

Long queues of heavy trucks dump cargoes of gravel and earth and
immediately set off for further loads. Bemused soldiers struggle with heaps
of marble floor slabs up a grand stairway still covered in sheeting as
restoration experts put craftsmen through their paces in two vast halls.

A dozen restorers perched on hoarding beneath chandeliers meticulously
paint gold leaf on wall motifs, oblivious to the din of saws and chisels.
Full-length mirrors and four fireplaces stand in a side room awaiting

Outside, landscapers and engineers are completing a network of canals and
fountains extending to the Gulf of Finland.


Back in St Petersburg, Yakovlev has paid the political price for a host of
unresolved problems going far beyond the anniversary and the president's
drive to portray the grandeur of his home town to the world.

Disliked intensely by Putin, he abandoned a plan to run for a third term
next year after the Kremlin leader appointed a regional prefect seen as a
heavy favourite to take over his job.

Many thousands of St Petersburg's 4.5 million residents remain in
"communal" flats with shared bathrooms and kitchens, elegant buildings on
its much-loved canals are in disrepair and suburbs not benefiting from
funds become ever more dilapidated.

Streets are riddled with potholes. Two major projects intended to relieve
city centre congestion have been repeatedly delayed -- a ring road around
the city and restoration of a metro line blocked by a landfall.

Worse, Russia's financial watchdog, the Audit Chamber, accused Yakovlev's
administration of failing to account for some $15 million earmarked for
roads. Further scandals surround the construction of a railway station many
residents say is not needed.

Yakovlev, still one of the country's most powerful regional bosses, denies
any wrongdoing and dismisses the allegations.

"Go and have a look on the street yourself," he told reporters. "Just
because work is still proceeding on these projects it does not mean they
won't be completed."

Public opinion is split down the middle on Yakovlev. Some residents say
high-profile preparations mask real problems, while others praise his
honesty in tackling a difficult legacy.

"We should not be unfair about the governor," said Alexander Skvortsov, a
retired builder. "There are certainly problems, but let's not forget this
place was built on a swamp. And unlike Muscovites, St Petersburgers are
genuinely proud of their city."

Yakovlev incurred the president's animosity in 1996 by challenging St
Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak -- Putin's mentor while he worked in his
native city and one of the main liberal advocates of the final days of
Soviet rule.

Sobchak was defeated by Yakovlev in a subsequent election and when he died
of a heart attack in 2000, Putin told mourners he had been "killed."

Yakovlev easily won re-election three years ago. Putin's bid to have
trusted aide Valentina Matviyenko run against the governor ended in her
humiliating withdrawal from the race.

But with Matviyenko's appointment as prefect last month, observers see her
as a sure bet for next year's gubernatorial election -- now that the
incumbent has ruled himself out.

The elegant and sometimes haughty Matviyenko, the most prominent of
Russia's handful of women politicians, has praised the governor for bowing
out graciously and quietly set about grappling with local issues, including
the celebrations.

"We should not let criticism of preparations overshadow the celebration,"
she told reporters.

But, perhaps with one eye on voters next year, she added:

"I do not think, however, that all our residents' hopes have been met.
Everyone wants his own area done up properly. And we are seeing only the
start of the job."

But prominent city figures have tended to be tolerant of the way in which
Yakovlev has approached the celebrations.

"The governor is naturally worried because much of the criticism is
political and directed at him," said Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the
Hermitage Museum. "And he often gets blamed for mistakes made a very long
time ago."

(Additional reporting by Konstantin Trifonov)

Polls show 5 parties could be elected to Duma

MOSCOW. April 30 (Interfax) - Only five parties would have chances to be 
elected to the Russian State Duma if elections were held next Sunday. This 
information comes from a poll of 1,600 Russians conducted by the All-Russian 
Public Opinion Survey Center (VTsIOM) in late April. 
   The poll shows that the Communist Party would receive 28% of the vote, and 
Unified Russia 21%. In a similar poll that VTsIOM conducted in March, the gap 
between the two was even larger, as 31% of respondents then supported the 
Communist Party, against 21% backing Unified Russia. 
   The April poll also showed the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) would 
obtain 7% (the same as in March), the Union of Right Forces 6% (6%), and 
Yabloko 6% (5%). 
   All other parties and organizations would not overcome the 5% barrier for 
entering the Duma. 
   Over half of Russians - 53% - would go to polling stations if Duma 
elections were held next Sunday. Another 28% would not vote, and 17% have not 
yet decided whether to vote or not. 
   Meanwhile, 40% of Russians believe it would be better for the country if 
none of the political parties obtains an absolute majority in the Duma. This 
way, any bill should would require them to coordinate their positions. 
However, 33% of respondents take the opposite view - they would like one 
party to obtain a majority in the Duma.


Gorbachev Denies Allegations of Misappropriation of Funds  

MOSCOW. April 29 (Interfax) - Former USSR 
President Mikhail Gorbachev has flatly denied some media accusations that 
he misappropriated funds during his term as Soviet president. 
   "The South Korean President's charity is alleged to have been a bribe, 
as has the Nobel prize, allegedly surpassing the usual sum ten times 
over. I have even been linked with the Baldin collection," Gorbachev 
   He submitted a letter from USSR Foreign Economic Bank Chairman, dated 
July 11, 1991, reporting where the Nobel prize money had gone. 
   Gorbachev listed six medical institutions in Russia, Ukraine, and 
Belarus where a total of $1.11 was invested. 
   He also showed documents proving the transfer of his various awards 
for charity. 
   "And the person who has donated at least $2.5 million of his awards 
turns out to be a bribe-taker," said Gorbachev. 
   Recounting the $100,000 check from the South Korean President in 1991, 
the former Soviet leader said the decision was made to remit the money to 
the Bryansk region to help Chernobyl victims. 
   Gorbachev reported to have turned the check over to the presidential 
administration's property management chief Boldin, in whose safe the 
check was subsequently discovered. 
   Gorbachev recalled that the State Duma had asked the Prosecutor 
General's Office to clear up the controversy and reported to have met to 
discuss the issue on April 1, 2003 with Nikolai Atmonyev, deputy chief of 
the Prosecutor General's Department for Investigating Especially 
Important Cases. 
   "I gave all clarifications, even though they have not completed the 
examination of the issue in full yet," said Gorbachev. 
   The ex-president also denied allegations about the conclusion of a 
Soviet-American agreement on a division line in the Bering Strait. 
   "Some Duma deputies even wanted the Prosecutor General's Office to 
initiate a criminal case, but the lower chamber considered this 
impossible due to the lack of any grounds," said Gorbachev. 
   He called the accusations leveled at him slanderous, "remarkably 
careless and possibly ordered by those who had themselves been caught 
stealing," Gorbachev said. 


Russia official seeks strong US trade ties post Iraq
By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) - A senior Russian official arrived in
Washington on Wednesday in hopes of ending friction with the Bush
administration over Moscow's opposition to the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev, who also serves as Russian farm
minister, told reporters that his visit was "very important because it is
right after the Iraq conflict."

He added that it was now "important for Russia to stress trade relations
with the United States," a message he said he would deliver personally to
Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Bush administration appears to be rewarding its allies in the war
against Iraq, while punishing some of those who opposed combat without U.N.

For example, a U.S.-Singapore free-trade agreement will be wrapped up
promptly, while there's no indication that a similar pact with Chile will
be signed even though negotiations are complete.

Also, the Bush administration is trying to hurry along a free-trade
agreement with Australia, a coalition partner in Iraq. Many U.S. farmers
staunchly oppose the agreement.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said France would face the
consequences of its vocal opposition to the war.

Russia is working to become a member of the World Trade Organization. But
it is unlikely to do so until the U.S. Congress repeals a Cold War-era law,
known as Jackson-Vanik, which places some restraints on U.S.-Russia trade.

There has been no sign that Congress plans to move that initiative along
anytime soon, nor has the Bush administration been clamoring recently to
lift Jackson-Vanik, even though it has recognized that the law has outlived
its usefulness.

Speaking to reporters through a translator shortly after arriving, Gordeyev
insisted Moscow and Washington "treated the government of Saddam Hussein
the same" but differed over whether U.N. approval was needed to wage war to
oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Gordeyev is the first high-level Russian official to visit the United
States since the Iraq war.

Besides meeting with Cheney, Gordeyev is scheduled to talk with Agriculture
Secretary Ann Veneman. On Friday, the two are supposed to sign an agreement
to cooperate on farm issues.

U.S.-Russian trade ties have been strained because of a long-running
dispute over poultry, with Moscow blocking American shipments repeatedly
over the past year or so for what they said was sanitary reasons.

The poultry problem may also have contributed to Congress being reluctant
to repeal Jackson-Vanik.

But last month, the two governments announced they had worked out their
differences. Wednesday, Gordeyev told reporters that 65-70 percent of
American poultry processing facilities have been cleared to ship product to

Russia has been a huge market for low-cost U.S. poultry, buying more than 1
million tons annually.

But in an effort to protect domestic producers, Russia has set new quotas
on all meat imports. For poultry, the United States has an export quota of
553,500 tons for May-December.

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003
From: Erik Herron 
Subject: Updated Web Site

I would like to welcome readers of JRL to the revised version of Erik
Herron's Guide to Politics in East Central Europe and Eurasia
(, based at the University of Kansas. The site is
designed to facilitate research on politics and economics in the region. It
has been renamed to recognize that we are entering a "post post-communist"
world. The 3,000+ links have been entered into a database that allows users
to search geographically and thematically. I have added other features,
including an ADA-compliant text-only version, site submission form and new
content. Please explore the site and send comments and suggestions.

Erik S. Herron
Assistant Professor
University of Kansas
Department of Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, 310 Blake Hall
Lawrence, KS 66044-3177
Office: (785) 864-9027
Fax:    (785) 864-5700
Home Page:
Guide to Post-Communist States:


Harvard Crimson
April 30, 2003
Economics Expert, Head of Russian Center Dies 
Contributing Writer
Abram Bergson, an acclaimed economist who put aside plans to become a
professional artist and went on to revolutionize the way the West
understood Soviet economics, died last Wednesday in Cambridge. He was 89. 

Bergson, who became the head of Harvard’s Russian Research Center in 1956,
was a particularly influential consultant for the U.S. Office of Strategic
Services during the Cold War years, when he analyzed what many assumed to
be inflated Soviet economic statistics to try to accurately determine that
nation’s Gross National Product.

His mastery of Soviet economics garnered Bergson top advisory positions,
impressed colleagues and sometimes intimidated students.

“Especially at the beginning of the study of the Soviet economy, Abe
Bergson was sort of an oracle. He knew more about it than anyone else,”
said Robert M. Solow ’44-’47, a Nobel laureate and emeritus professor of
economics at MIT who worked closely with Bergson. 

James S. Duesenberry, a professor emeritus of economics at Harvard who had
lunch with Bergson once a week for many years, said Bergson also stood out
in more human ways.

“He was a very modest person, never tooted his own horn,” Duesenberry said.
“He was the kind of person who asked you your opinion before he started
giving his—which is unusual in our profession.”

Though many referred to Bergson as “Honest Abe” behind his back, Marshall
I. Goldman, a former student, recalled a bet among his fellow graduate
students about who would be the first to call the esteemed professor “Abe”
in person.

Goldman said he still found Bergson “intimidating,” even after he went on
to become the associate director of the research center once directed by
Bergson, which was renamed the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian
Studies last year.

“You are always his former student, something you never graduate from,”
Goldman said.

But he added that during his student days, Bergson was more accessible than
most professors at the time, hosting open houses and a weekly Russian table. 

“In those days a professor didn’t normally provide you with much face
time,” Goldman said.

Bergson entertained ambitions of becoming a professional artist until a
gamble by his brother helped him win a scholarship to Johns Hopkins
University, according to his daughter, Judith Bergson.

Gus Bergson, then an undergraduate at Hopkins, sometimes played poker with
the university’s faculty members, she said. In one game, he staked his hand
on a promise from a professor to tutor Abram, then 16. Gus Bergson won, and
the tutoring helped Bergson win the only scholarship Hopkins offered that
year. He graduated in three years and went on to earn his masters degree
and doctorate from Harvard.

Though the admission to Hopkins forced Bergson to put aside his artistic
aspirations, he never lost his passion for art—particularly Vincent Van
Gogh—Judith Bergson said.

“He had this amazing color sense,” she said. “He’s different from other
economists in that he really took an interest in his environment.”

Before he established himself at the forefront of the study of Soviet
economics, Bergson won acclaim for the “Bergson social welfare function,”
according to Paul A. Samuelson, an MIT professor emeritus of economics and
Nobel laureate who described Bergson as his “oldest and dearest friend at

Though Bergson’s work probably placed him on many Nobel “short lists,”
Samuelson said, a misunderstanding perpetuated in the economics literature
may have cost him the prize. 

But Samuelson, himself a Nobel Laureate, added that the fact that Bergson
never won a Nobel doesn’t mean he was undeserving. 

“People who don’t get the Nobel Prize are just as good as the people who do
get it,” he said. “There’s a lot of luck in those things.”

Bergson leaves behind his wife, three daughters, a sister and three

Moscow News
April 30-May 6, 2003
Fighter-Missionaries for Russia?
By Sergei Roy
Herostratos earned everlasting notoriety by burning down the temple of 
Ephesus. "Artist" Kulik made a name for himself by defecating on the clean 
floor in front of a painting at a museum. Journalist Osetinsky is apparently 
following in the footsteps of the latter, besmirching the whole of Russia's 
population, calling them a bunch of savages, "Mowglis" that have to be 
forcibly taught to use knife and fork (Izvestia, 28 April 2003). According to 
the writer, Russia is "half-paralyzed, wallowing in thievery, savagery and 
mental deficiency of the majority of the population." The people of Russia 
could not be trusted to build democracy and achieve economic success, as "the 
Soviet years had completely destroyed their brains, their human initiative 
and creative ingenuity." Americans should therefore send to Russia "hundreds 
of thousands of honest economic fighter-missionaries," like they did after 
World War II in Germany. Somebody has to carry the white man's burden, you 
see: "the superpowers' true mission is to raise the world to their own level 
- by means of force, if need be!"

I won't comment on the language used by Mr. Osetinsky, as no comment - apart 
from a sharp slap in the face - would be adequate. I mean a slap in the face 
as administered to hysterical women throwing insults about, to bring them to 
their senses. For that is what Mr. Osetinsky's trademark style is - 
hysterical, exclamatory, puerile, very much like his solutions for global 
problems - nuclear weapons as a means of combating radical Islamism, "another 
Hiroshima," or, as in the present case, what amounts to an American 
occupation of Russia as a means of building democracy here (Mr. Osetinsky is 
awfully sorry Americans are currently engaged in a similar pursuit in Iraq - 
instead of coming over here, one presumes).

The substance of the Osetinsky proposal is so Mowgli-ish as to defy rational 
comment, too. If it were not printed in Izvestia, it would not merit more 
than a derisive snort. However, Izvestia being what it is - unarguably the 
most respected and respectable paper in Russia, the flagship of the Russian 
printed media, so to speak - one has to take whatever comes from that quarter 
seriously. This bit of journalism, however cheap, lunatic and weird, 
apparently either reflects the opinion of a significant sliver of its 
readership or some arcane scheme brewing in the minds of its oligarchic owner 
or owners. So, just a few questions to whoever is behind this curious trial 

Where would the U.S. recruit those hundreds of thousands of "honest economic 
fighter-missionaries"? Not among the managerial talent of Enron Corp. and 
similar institutions, whose name is legion, by any chance? Are these 
missionaries going to instill here the same kind of ethical principles they 
practice at home? It looks quite likely, for we all remember the scandal 
surrounding the fraudulent doings of some transatlantic advisers to the 
Russian government a few years ago, while others were content with paying 
themselves exorbitant salaries out of the Russian budget.

As for the managerial competence of these missionaries, real, not imaginary, 
we've had enough experience of that, too: The monetarist policies of the 
"Chicago boys" of Gaidar's and subsequent governments, guided by Jeffrey 
Sachs and the like, came to fruition in the 1998 crisis, with Russia 
defaulting on its debts.

Another pertinent question: Once those missionaries are here, what will they 
do? What tasks could they solve? What are the critical issues begging to be 
resolved, and how could the hypothetical apostles of market and democracy 
help to solve them?

Ask any economist, or even any rational, non-Osetinsky type journalist around 
here, what currently ails Russia most. The answers may vary, but some things 
stick out a mile:

(a) the servicing and repayment of crippling debts incurred by the "Chicago 
boys," and before that, by the "best German" of all time, Mikhail Gorbachev;

(b) capital flight to the tune of some $20 billion a year;

(c) the population's distrust of the government and the banking system, in 
view of which the citizens' savings, amounting at a conservative estimate to 
some $80 billion, stay firmly "under the mattress" instead of being invested 
in the economy;

(d) perhaps the knottiest and most explosive of all, the predatory 
exploitation by a few tycoons of what is known as the natural resources rent 
that ought by rights to go to all of the country's population.

There is a host of other troubles, but solve these or any one of these 
problems, and Russia would be sitting pretty. Now, would the arrival of those 
hundreds of thousands of fighter-missionaries help resolve any of these 

Problem (a) needs no missionaries, it only wants the will of the U.S. to 
write off some of Russia's debts, say, those dating from Soviet times. Do we 
hear of any U.S. intention to do so? Don't make me laugh. The latest we've 
heard on the subject of debts is America's powerfully expressed desire for 
Russia to write off Iraq's debts to this country instead. Like Putin put it, 
somebody has to pay for the shooting and the looting - why not Russia?

Capital flight, now. Would American economists persuade Russian tycoons of 
various degree of criminality to stop salting away their ill-gotten wealth in 
offshore havens? Would they be so altruistic? After all, that wealth does not 
actually stay in the vaults, you know; it buys stocks, bonds and other 
"financial instruments" - which, in this age of globalization, somehow 
inevitably tend to be concentrated, and played with, on a certain street in 
New York.

Solving problem (c) would amount to a de-dollarization of Russia, at least a 
partial one. To set a goal like that, Osetinsky's economic missionaries would 
have to be not just altruists but suicidal altruists: It is a well-known fact 
that there is more U.S. cash in the FSU than in the States; by keeping their 
savings in dollars, FSU citizens provide credit to the U.S. Should they call 
in all that credit, that might not fatally cripple the U.S. financial system, 
but no right-thinking American politician would contemplate or allow such a 

That's for one thing. For another, from-under-the-mattress money invested in 
the Russian economy might produce results that would appear nightmarish to 
any U.S. economist or politician: Russians might learn to produce enough 
drumsticks of their own and say No to American poultry, and that's just one 
of the more innocent examples - they might even think of investing in better 

Problem (d) is an essentially political one, and no amount of economic savvy 
or idealism on the part of wandering missionaries can help solve it. It is 
for the Russian elite to come to its senses and do something about it before 
it resolves itself in the 1917 mode.

So my response to Mr. Osetinsky's inspired proposal is a bit like that of 
many Brits in the 1950s. There was a popular slogan at the time: "Keep 
Britain tidy," with posters to that effect pasted all over the place. As 
often as not, you'd find scrawled underneath: "Get rid of the Yanks."


Kennan Institute
event summary
Ukraine Between the Elections (2002-04): Opportunities and Pitfalls Ahead 
April 7, 12:00 

In a recent meeting at the Kennan Institute, Sergiy Komisarenko, President
of the Ukrainian Institute for Peace and Democracy discussed recent
developments in Ukrainian politics. According to Komisarenko, Ukraine still
does not have an effective, stable political system. He explained that as
evidenced by the results of the latest parliamentary election, opposition
parties in Ukraine have very few legal rights and suffer from a lack of
structure. Komisarenko discussed the leading candidates for the upcoming
presidential election, and explained President Kuchma’s attempts to
introduce constitutional reforms that could influence the election.

Komisarenko attributed the instability of the Ukrainian political system,
in part, to the country’s ineffective economic policy. He posited that “an
optimal and effective macroeconomic policy can only be realized under the
conditions of a stable political system with proper leadership, principle
market institutions that work properly, national self-esteem, and an open
and public society.” In Komisarenko’s opinion, Ukraine’s political system
is ineffective because the language of the constitution severely limits the
constructiveness, structure and legal rights of the political opposition.
Komisarenko explained that following the 2002 parliamentary elections, many
of the opposition parties encountered difficulties during and after the
elections. He noted that the “so-called opposition” or the Our Ukraine
faction in the parliament is composed of nearly fifty different political
parties. Keeping this mixed coalition together has proven to be a difficult
task for party leader and leading presidential candidate, Viktor Yushchenko.

According to Komisarenko, the instability of the Ukraine political system
makes it nearly impossible to predict who will be the next president of
Ukraine. He listed approximately ten different people who could possibly
win the upcoming election, but also warned that there are no guarantees
that any of them would make it that far. He noted that Yushchenko remains
the most popular person in Ukraine, but many citizens have voiced their
concerns about his ability to govern effectively. 

Komisarenko stated that there is still a chance that the current Ukrainian
president, Leonid Kuchma, may attempt to lengthen his presidential term.
Komisarenko explained that according to the Ukrainian constitution, Kuchma
must step down because he has served two terms. However, Kuchma has
suggested several constitutional reforms to the parliament and the
possibility still exists that he will try to extend his term or go onto a
third term. According to Komisarenko, President Kuchma’s original plan was
to find a candidate who could guarantee him security and immunity (similar
to the Russian case of Yeltsin and Putin). Because no suitable candidate
was found, Komisarenko continued, it appears that Kuchma has decided to
constitutional reform as his next strategy. Komisarenko warned that among
the many reforms proposed by Kuchma, his suggestion of making national
referendum an instrument of legislation would be “disastrous for the
development of democracy in Ukraine.”

Komisarenko posited that another possible candidate might be former
president, Leonid Kravchuk, who could be president for a third term because
the constitution only stipulates that the president cannot serve for more
than two consecutive terms. Komisarenko noted that Mr. Kravchuk is not very
popular in eastern Ukraine, but “under the current circumstances where
there is no clear candidate for the presidency, he can be such a candidate.”

Komisarenko concluded by saying that while the immediate outlook does not
looks positive for Ukrainian democracy, he hopes that the country can build
upon its economic, agricultural and intellectual potential and introduce
balance and stability into its political system. 


        APRIL 27, 2003]

     Anchor: Last Saturday the leaders of Yabloko announced that
they would seek to force a resignation of the government. For
reference, under the Russian Constitution the State Duma has the
right to pass a no-confidence vote in the Cabinet of Ministers by
a simple majority of 226 votes. By the way, the State Duma has
never once succeeded in doing that in its history. And even to
simply put the question of no confidence in the government on the
agenda, one-fifth of the votes of the deputies is needed, that is,
at least 90 votes. Yabloko has 17 seats in the Duma. What are they
counting on?

     Today we have live on the line chairman of the Yabloko faction
Grigory Yavlinsky. Grigory Alexeyevich, what are you going to do?
Where will you get the missing votes?

     Yavlinsky: Happy Easter, Yevgeny Alexeyevich.

     Anchor: Happy Easter to you.

     Yavlinsky: It's a special day. As you may have noticed of late
practically all the factions in the State Duma have quite
explicitly criticized the government, even Unity. Even the leaders
of Unity, the Minister of the Interior criticized their own
government, not to speak about other factions.
     And the question that we have raised envisages that a review
of the government's performance during the last three years be put
on the agenda. In addition to what you have said, there is another
circumstance to be reckoned with. This government has marked its
three years in office. Considering that the President still hasn't
got his Address and considering what is happening in the country
and the situation in the country is generally felt by people to be
unfavorable, and the government should know about it -- the crime
situation, schools burning down, fires blazing, already forest
fires have begun. The government is making a series of decisions
that are remote from people's interests and with which they find it
hard to identify. And in general the government is demonstrating
total indifference to what is happening in the country which it is
supposed to govern.
     We feel that the time has come, and this is not only our
opinion, we made that decision not only based on our own ideas, but
to a large extent because the 35 regions that are represented at
the Yabloko bureau, its governing body, all insisted that the time
has come to put some hard questions to the government: why is it so
helpless? Why isn't it addressing strategic issues? How long will
the internal bickering in the government continue? Why such
indifference to what is happening in the country? This is the range
of questions that, I think, many deputies would like to ask. I
don't think it will be much of a problem to put on the agenda the
question of how the government is coping with its duties.

     Anchor: But Gennady Zyuganov, for example, has suggested that
the no-confidence vote should only be proposed if you know that
this could lead to real results. And if there is no majority for a
no-confidence vote, not even the 90 votes required to put the issue
on the agenda, there is no point in starting the procedure. 

     Yavlinsky: Well, as a matter of fact, --

     Anchor: Do you disagree with this?

     Yavlinsky: Let us leave to Zyuganov's conscience what he is
going to do about it. But we believe that this is a coherent
evaluation of the government's performance. We have tried for a
long time to convince the government regarding economic reforms,
for example, regarding taxes, small and medium business, reforms of
the housing and utilities sector and RAO UES. 
     But the government is absolutely unreasonable, it is pushing
through decisions that can hardly be described as competent. And
besides, let me stress again that the approach to strategic issues
is unprofessional. Therefore we believe it is important to give an
assessment to the government's performance and this is a procedure
that conforms with the laws and the Constitution. But I would like
to add something. The question of the resignation of the government
is not only about 226 votes in the State Duma. It is perhaps the
question about a single person who can alone decide the fate of his
own government.

     Anchor: But that does not require a no-confidence vote by the
State Duma. 

     Yavlinsky: True, but to discuss the performance of the
government is very important. This is not a personal question. It
is my question to Kasyanov, or Kudrin, or Gref, or to the Defense
Minister who has again refused to implement the military reform, or
to the Interior Minister who is not only unable to secure the lives
of the deputies, but does not even see fit to express his
condolences on behalf of the government. And then what happens at
the Duma when the government comes there to report and explain its
position on the issue -- this is very much like a farce.
     In other words, these are not questions to individual members
of the government and this is not about personal relations. It is
a totally different question. The question is much broader, it is
about what the government is going to do in Russia. And it would be
worth discussing it on the eve of the President's annual Address.

     Anchor: But you are being criticized. It has been suggested
that wish such a number of votes as Yabloko commands you may
declare war on England every morning, but nothing will come out of
it. And it has been said that your initiative is just part of
electioneering. Do you think these accusations make no sense?

     Yavlinsky: Hmm... Well, I think the government should always
defend itself. It defends itself as best it can. As for an
electioneering move, my whole life is in politics, and this is a
dialogue with the constituency. To me it is very important --

     Anchor: So, you wouldn't deny that by addressing your critical
remarks to the government and even perhaps raising a no-confidence
issues, you expect to attract part of the protest vote?

     Yavlinsky: I would make two points. Forcing the government to
resign is not the programmatic goal of Yabloko. We do not believe
that resignation of the government is the policy goal of our
election campaign. We simply see the attitude of the government to
what is happening in the country, we find it outrageous and we
disagree with this.

     Anchor: Would you be prepared to join the new government if
the present government were to resign?

     Yavlinsky: Yes, we would be prepared to consider that issue.
Because we believe that the country is facing major challenges. The
number of seats we have in the Duma does not permit us to form the
whole government, but we would certainly be prepared to take part
in the government in terms of solving the most serious tasks, the
long-term tasks. As for electioneering -- 

     Anchor: So, the members of Yabloko faction would agree to take
some ministerial portfolios?

     Yavlinsky: We have said so many times and we are ready to say
it again.

     Anchor: But the situation changes, so, I am asking you, what
about the present situation?

     Yavlinsky: Yes, you are quite right. All the political forces
are political forces precisely because they are -- if they are
serious -- ready to assume responsibility for the solution of some
of the key tasks. 

     Anchor: And you personally?

     Yavlinsky: Including myself.

     Anchor: So, if you are offered the post of vice premier, for
example, will you agree?

     Yavlinsky: I will discuss the issue with the person who offers
it to me. It would probably be the President.

     Anchor: Did you have any preliminary consultations on this

     Yavlinsky: No, I have not discussed this issue with the

     Anchor: Have you discussed it with anyone?

     Yavlinsky: I have not discussed it with anyone except the
members of our party, of our bureau.

     Anchor: But recently -- you  have mentioned it yourself -- the
leaders of United Russia Party at their congress launched a
devastating attack on the government and its chairman Mikhail
Kasyanov. And perhaps your calculation is that if it comes to
debating your proposal, United Russia will backtrack, will fail to
be consistent and in this way you would claim that they are being
disingenuous? Is this perhaps your plan?

     Yavlinsky: Everything is simple. Either they back the proposal
to hear the government's report on its work or they do not back it
and then for a while they won't be able to pretend to be
criticizing the government. That applies to other factions as well.

     Anchor: And also the communists?

     Yavlinsky: The communists and all the rest.

     Anchor: So, you will stand to gain from this situation
whatever happens?

     Yavlinsky: I just wanted to say that we do not treat it as a
game. It is indeed a serious question for us, just as for you and
the whole country. It is not the question of winning or losing a
game. We do not have a hidden agenda there.

     Anchor: But you do go into politics, don't you?

     Yavlinsky: Yes, but it is politics...

     Anchor: I do not say that politics is a game but in politics
one can gain points and lose points.

     Yavlinsky: Yes, in politics it is better not to make mistakes.
For instance, I regret that we have discussed this question on the
eve of Easter. This may probably have been a mistake on our part --
to hold party functions on such days. That is true. As regards the
content of the question, I do not have any doubt on that. Indeed
today we find ourselves in a situation when on any question at all
there is no account rendered by the government to the State Duma or
to the nation -- no account rendered to anyone. It is neither
through the Defense Ministry, nor the Interior Ministry, nor the
Foreign Ministry -- and I would wish to say that by far not
everything is good in regard to this bloc.

     Anchor: But wait, Grigory Alexeyevich, are you not being
insincere? The Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Defense
Ministry, a number of other ministries and departments -- these are
what they call entities with an asterisk, which is to say that in
the list of ministries and departments they are indicated as
ministries de facto reporting directly to the President. 

     Yavlinsky: I am not being insincere. There is no insincerity
here. In form...

     Anchor: But no, can you ask Kasyanov or the government to
account for the work of these organizations...

     Yavlinsky: Wait a minute. You know how one is fed up with this
senselessness. It is impossible to ask an account from the main,
the key ministers. The prime minister is our "semi-principal"
economist, a "semi-principal" accountant. Where is the government
that you may ask to answer what is going on? Where is the
government that you can recommend something to? Where is the
government with whom one may pursue a dialogue? Where is the
government which you can even help? It is an arrangement that leads
to complete irresponsibility and full inability to do anything.
This is what we and you are observing today. The main feature of
the government is its full inability to solve at least some issues
and to move in some direction.

     Anchor: But wait, let us talk about the military reform. This
is what you said. Or say, questions of crime control. But this is
an area that Gryzlov is responsible for, if you take the war
against crime, the man is appointed by the President and is
answerable to him. That means that the system must probably be
changed. How can one expect Kasyanov to be responsible for some
failures if Gryzlov has failures in the work of the Interior

     Yavlinsky: Today it is not timely to raise the question of
changing the system. And in my point of view the responsibility is
borne but the prime minister, as this is said in the Constitution.
I prefer to act by law and by Constitution. By law and by
Constitution, all these ministers are members of the government of
the Russian Federation. The way their powers are distributed is a
different matter. Let Kasyanov go to the President and ask the
President how he should act, when they raise the issue with  him
that all decisions have come to a halt in say the area of army
reform, military reform -- it is a very serious thing, a very
serious thing. The army is not being reduced, the army is not
switching over into becoming professional. They invented some six
months but it is now clear that all this is absurdity while the
question of a professional army has been simply brushed aside. This
is already not a question of desire or reluctance.
     In the Interior Ministry the minister himself raises the
question of complete corruption, of a huge number of Interior
Ministry officials being connected with organized crime, but the
question is not raised anywhere, is not examined anywhere and it is
impossible to ask anyone to account for this question. In the final
analysis, the government is working exactly the way it is working
because nobody can ask the government to account for anything. And
that is why I would like -- speaking in the State Duma -- to ask
our colleagues whether we will discuss the government at all?
Indeed, elections are coming soon, it is very correct that there
are elections, so let us discuss the question of resignation, not
resignation -- it is the next question, but let us first at least
ask the government, let us pose quite intelligible questions: what
is happening to the operational management of the economy? In this
country in winter apartments get frozen, we have forest fires in
summer and in spring. Who do we ask about this and who do we
discuss these things with?

     Anchor: Tell me whether I understood you correctly or not: it
turns out that in a certain soft form you wish to raise this
question, not an immediate question that the head should be lopped
off, not an immediate vote of non-confidence, but rather you wish
simply to raise the question of listening to an account by the
government? And only then...

     Yavlinsky: There is no such possibility and we are not going
to raise this question as one of our colleagues says, softly, it is
toughly. We are going to raise the question clearly and coherently.
We will collect 90 signatures, we will table the motion of
non-confidence, we will require the account from the government, we
will demand the discussion of this issue. This is our position.

     Anchor: Well, good, and the President bears responsibility for
the failures in the work of the government?

     Yavlinsky: The full responsibility is borne by the President.

     Anchor: Does it not seem to you that raising the question in
this way, the way you have no formulated it, you are willy nilly
taking it out of the line of fire, concentrating all your attention
on the Kasyanov Cabinet? 

     Yavlinsky: No, it is because I am asking it from those who are
authorized by the Constitution and by law to be accountable for
these questions. They are obligated to answer these questions. They
have been appointed by the President, the President is responsible
for the government that he established in the country. The State
Duma is obligated to ask the government to account and only after
that, meeting with the President, it will be possible to coherently
repeat our position once again. For instance, we will tell our
position to the President once again.

     Anchor: And probably the last question, the one we began with
-- will you collect 90 signatures?

     Yavlinsky: I think it will not be a big problem. It seems to
me that there is a sufficient number of people in the State Duma
who are prepared to seriously discuss not individual amendments,
not individual laws but are prepared to discuss the problem as a

     Anchor: And technically, in terms of deadlines, when can this
take place?

     Yavlinsky: We will begin collecting signatures immediately
after the State Duma resumes work, which will be as the 12th and I
think that before the end of May there will be a clear answer as to
the support the government has in the State Duma, what factions
support the policy pursued by the government or the absence of that
policy, any policy, as I would formulate it,  and those prepared to
discuss and raise the question of non-confidence in the government.

     Anchor: Thank you, Grigory Alexeyevich, for your answers. In
the Itogi studio our guest was Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of
Yabloko, who on Saturday announced his intention to work for a
non-confidence vote in the government. 


        [EKHO MOSKVY RADIO, 14:00, APRIL 28, 2003]

     Anchor: Our informed guest today is the head of the Communist
Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Andreyevich Zyuganov. Good
day, Gennady Andreyevich. 

     Zyuganov: Good day.

     Anchor: Shall we start with the good news or the bad news?

     Zyuganov: Suit yourself.

     Anchor: Let's start with the bad news. I think many of our
listeners and viewers who watched various TV channels took note of
the story connected with the decision of the Audit Chamber to
inspect Rosagropromstroi which is headed up by a member of the
presidium of the Central Committee of the CPRF, Viktor Vedmanov.
And the program made no bones about the fact that the Audit
Chamber, reacting to a letter from the State Duma speaker Gennady
Seleznyov, is looking into the fact that 100 billion rubles went
missing and implicitly the CPRF is accused of spending that money
for its own needs.
     Gennady Andreyevich, what do you know a) what do you know
about it? And b) what can you say about it?

     Zyuganov: Well, this is the fifth time they are carrying out
an audit. As for the program Your Own House, it was launched ten
years ago, and it envisages the construction, about a hundred
different designs of cheap homes that a village teacher, a farm
machine operator, a doctor or a dairy maid can order. 
     We introduced that program at the Kremlin. By the way, it was
presented to Putin and all the specialists involved were present.
It was later considered by the government. They saw that it was a
realistic program which could provide the basis for a large-scale
rural construction program. By the way, of all the building
agencies only Spetsstroi and Vedmanov's agency have survived. It
employs 700,000 people. They operate at 10-15, at most at 20
percent capacity.
     But Stepashin, during the few months that he was the prime
minister, endorsed that program and the Kasyanov government struck
it down and did not disburse a single kopeck to finance it. They
gave a little money for the development of the production basis --
without the industrial basis you cannot accomplish anything -- but
they refused to implement the program. So, what is necessary is not
to audit the program, but to get it up and running. Then people
will be able to build cheap rural homes, get support and pay back
by providing farm produce, etc.
     All countries in the world implement such programs. In the
Oryol region this program got off the ground because Stroyev
supported it and helped it along. This is an opportunity for rural
     As for guesses, I looked yesterday -- by the way, not only
Svanidze was speaking about it gleefully, but Karaulov has now been
expressing worries about our party ... It is a massive campaign
masterminded by Voloshin. He has appointed a person who reports to
him every week. The aim of that program is to try to bring about a
split in the Communist party and to discredit its leadership. This
is not the first such program. In the previous elections they put
the blame for all that happened in 1920s and 1930s on our party. I
told them, you should take it to Yeltsin, I was born in 1944. And
now they are trying to latch on to something. They have shown a
house in Voronezh. I will show you thousands of houses in Moscow
that are half-built. That's the way they approach construction
everywhere today.
     By the way, many building teams in Lensk built houses, and
then it took them months to get paid for them. They were decorated
with medals and prized, but they weren't paid their wages. Nobody
seriously attends to construction in this country.

     Anchor: Is it a failure of the program, for whatever reason,
or is it a political action?

     Zyuganov: It is a political action, it is a settling of
scores, it is an attempt to strike down whatever building
organizations still exist in the country. If you made an audit and
then went on to help so that the builders should have their order
books full, so that the program should get off the ground, I am all
in favor of an audit. But it should help the rural builder to
survive in such conditions. But they don't lift a finger to develop

     Anchor: So, you are absolutely sure that the money was not
improperly used, the billion rubles?

     Zyuganov: You know very well that our party was the only
organization that was audited again. Our election campaign was
audited ten times. If they had found anything, they would have
cited facts. You saw Karaulov sitting there and inventing things.
I tell him: "You can take a report of our faction, you can take the
20 main laws, beginning from Yeltsin's privileges, the disbanding
of the Federation Council, privileges to servicemen, pensions,
wages down to the rejection of the referendum and you will see that
everywhere we voted in favor of the working man, Unity has
everywhere voted against.
     And instead he digs something up and starts --

     Anchor: But you didn't answer my question, are you quite
confident and relaxed about this --

     Zyuganov: I am absolutely confident and relaxed. But if you
take any concrete construction project, given the present system of
organization, supervision and the rest of it, you can try to make
any accusations.

     Anchor: Do you think that this is the start of an election
campaign or is it a false start to an election campaign when dirt
is being dished out little by little against one or another party
leader or against all of them at once?

     Zyuganov: This is not an election campaign. To put it mildly,
this is an outrage. And election campaign -- one should have built
a political system, one should have preserved conditions for normal
competition; one should have honored the law on the media; one
should have given a chance to the leaders of parties and movements
to report to the public.
     I just conducted an all-Russian protest action against Channel
2 of State television.

     Anchor: Well, they are listening to you now, you can say --

     Zyuganov: With pleasure, but I am sure they won't show it. 

     Anchor: Let us not insult our colleagues.

     Zyuganov: I am not insulting them. Dobrodeyev is a very
competent man, he has six yellow telephones and each is ringing,
but they just don't want to pursue an honest information policy. At
least, they are not allowed to. We staged pickets in 48
territories. Each event was attended by between 2,000 and 50,000
people. People attended everywhere and they presented concrete
demands. First, the opposition must have a program. Secondly, they
must have air time under the law. I have prepared short videos. In
January, they were run in 60 territories, in February, in 54. But
in March they put a stop on it. Since March 17, you cannot get in
a word edgewise on any state-run channel.
     How can you hold elections or prepare for elections if the
deputy is not allowed to report to the public in accordance with
the law on state television?
     We sent a deputation of 15 people to Dobrodeyev. He himself
was away, I don't know whether he was afraid or whether there was
some other reason. We talked with his deputy and we discussed
specifically all the situations. They told us that our proposals
would be given a consideration. I handed them an analysis of the
information policy of the state channel. From September 1 and until
today we got 2.5 percent of the air time, less than any other
political organizations, and that in spite of the fact that we have
25 percent of the seats in the State Duma. 
     Our voters pay money, state television and radio broadcasting
exists on this money and for this money Unity pulls the wool over
our eyes from morning till night showing us the same pictures about
the Kremlin incumbents plus weather reports.
     It's worse than in the late Brezhnev era. They said they would
consider our complaints and answer. But nothing is forthcoming.

     Anchor: Gennady Andreyevich, your opponents claim that you
appear on every channel, that they show you providing your comments
both on ORT and RTR channels and so on.

     Zyuganov: Alexei, this is a lie. I asked the First Channel, I
met with Ernst personally, give me 30 minutes to answer the
questions asked by my voters. In Pozner's program -- 

     Anchor: Did you appear on Pozner's program?

     Zyuganov: Pozner is sitting and three opponents. The four of
them take a minute each plus one minute for me. That is not enough
time even to answer the questions they ask. And I wanted to answer
the questions that are of interest to my voters. This is a common
rule in any democratic country. We have no dialogue among
presidential candidates so that they could come on and discuss the
problem calmly. Leading parties have no chance to speak to their
voters. This is not a normal situation.

     Anchor: But a new law has been passed.

     Zyuganov: As for Channel 2, I already told Dobrodeyev... I
hadn't visited them for a year. I came and they were doing repairs
and there are now guards there, incidentally very good looking guys
who stand there and offer you not a bad reception but there is no
honest information policy. That group of Surkov and Voloshin has
muzzled everyone. I don't know how they still allow you to talk but
soon they will make an attack on you.

     Anchor: Well, we have developed quite a habit. Our guest is
Gennady Andreyevich Zyuganov.
     There is still time before the election and I think that the
new law on elections which in my view is extremely strictly
regulating appearances of registered candidates to the State Duma
and the presidency in mass media. Zyuganov will answer some of your
questions. You have voted for him.

     Zyuganov: Now it is not the matter that they have voted, they
have even wrote down the collection of funds. Up to 50 million
people vote for us from all over. We have no possibility now to go
to the state radio and television.  We have agreed to increase the
publishing of leaflets, newspapers and many other things. We have
now appealed to our electorate and they do it with pleasure,
contributing 30, 40, 50 rubles each... Firstly, they come and say
that the money is not yet accepted and secondly, if you put two
commas not correctly and you remitted the money -- it will get
spent tomorrow and it will be like it was in Norilsk: they
dismissed the person quite unexpectedly. You will excuse me but it
is worse here than in Africa. That is why in my opinion one has to
work here. Letters were written to Veshnyakov and so on. In my
opinion, he is preparing for the elections quite badly. If this
goes on like this, the whole country will be engaged in court
     I devoted these two days to holding a seminar for legal
experts. About one hundred skilled lawyers attended who are
expected to defend our rights. Over this period about 1,700 trials
occurred. We gained much through court decisions, we argued out
much but you see it is not normal when they can find fault with any
of your commas. And if someone remitted a hundred rubles and...

     Anchor: But wait a minute, you are the legislators so you have
adopted legal rules for yourselves.

     Zyuganov: Excuse me please but those were adopted by a
majority of the Unity. This Unity majority left the army and the
military without benefits. That majority voted for unheard of
privileges for Yeltsin. Let that majority now answer for this.

     Anchor: Now let us get back to this. Maybe the hottest theme
because I think that we will still have an opportunity to talk
about elections before the elections and during the election
campaign. The main question is probably the question of the last
weekend when the Yabloko faction of the State Duma, which is your
political opponents on many political positions, decided to
initiate the procedure to express a lack of confidence in the
     Is there a decision of the Communist faction, does the
Communist faction have a position first on this procedure and then
on the government in general?

     Zyuganov: Well, we are pleased that  a year later the Yabloko
faction has joined us. In June last year 125 deputies drafted a
paper substantiating the vote of non-confidence in the course, in
that government. It was published by a large circulation and
officially from 125 deputies -- there were representatives of the
most diverse factions -- who sent that document to each legislative
assembly, to every governor and to all members of government and to
Putin. They asked to consider the paper, asked to take the decision
together and to form a government of national interests, a
government of professionals. But they would not budge. We again
return to this by the fall and we applied to every faction and to
every legislature: you see how this government is working.I don't
know what influenced Yavlinsky but now our positions in this sense
are getting closer together and there is one position -- for an
honest choice -- and he understands that there will be a lot of
stealing and merciless suppressing. 
     We have again made an application and they say that in the
council they have just taken a decision. Now they have a brilliant
opportunity to add to the list of 125 deputies  their own 17 votes
and it will be 140 odd people.

     Anchor: Gennady Andreyevich, it is a different procedure and
please talk about the procedure. You have to get together 17 people
and they have 17 people. In order to initiate discussion in the
State Duma of the question on non-confidence in the government,
they need 90. The question is whether or not the Communists will
sign under this statement or not.

     Zyuganov: Just one minute, please, all the Communists have
already signed. 

     Anchor: No, now it is a new procedure, Gennady Andreyevich. 

     Zyuganov: No new procedure: you put your signatures here and
let us discuss whether or not we table it for the meeting or
whether we continue working with citizens especially considering
that there will be million manifestations on May 1 and 9 where they
will put it directly that this government must go. The question is
that 142 votes is still insufficient in order to force the
government to resign.

     Anchor: Gennady Andreyevich, wait a second, this question is
not solved in the street. Under the Russian Federation
Constitution: it is either the expression of non-confidence in the
State Duma or a decision by the President. I have a question to you
and you still have not answered. Don't you have a decision? They
will submit the document and they will begin collecting signatures,
whether or not there is the faction decision -- it is a simple
question for you. 

     Zyuganov: If they are going to raise it at a State Duma
meeting, let us sit together and discuss it. In my opinion, until
we have gathered about 200 votes, it makes no sense to raise it in
the meeting because that gray majority will push the button with
the finger and there will not even be a normal discussion, as is
the case today. 
     On the other hand, if Yavlinsky, using his "record",
demonstrated that the growth is not 6 percent as Kasyanov and Co.
say. I asked actually how our economy and the government worked in
the second quarter year. And I say that in the first quarter the
entire industry produced two thermal locomotives, as many
electrical trains, eleven machine tools with digital control, 32
harvesters and 584 tractors -- this is the performance of Soviet
industry. In several hours. 
     So you see the performance. And until we have expelled this
government, this will cause a further destruction of machine
building, metal processing, basic sectors, including the security
of the people. 

     Anchor: Well, Gennady Andreyevich, the government is not
expelled by the street, the government is expelled by the State
Duma and the President, under the Constitution. 

     Zyuganov: Alexei, you are not correct. If 20 million people go
out into the street on May 1 and 9 and say: go, I assure you they
will fly, just not go but very many will simply fly away.

     Anchor: But this is not constitutional?

     Zyuganov: It is very constitutional, it is the will of the

     Anchor: At the elections.

     Zyuganov: The government is the will of the people. The
citizens elected Putin, elected the deputies and the citizens can
say get out. 

     Anchor: Incidentally, Gennady Andreyevich, just one more
second. The citizens can say: get out -- on December 14, at the
elections so to say. As to me, I am not against a manifestation. We
will now again speak about manifestations and slogans and I still
wish to ask a question. There emerged a story in which, if I
understood you correctly you regard it timely to pose the question
of non-confidence in the government at a State Duma meeting if the
number of votes is 200 or more? 

     Zyuganov: I regard this raising of the question belated. We
put these deadlines twice. The first time we voted two years ago,
all closed their mouths. 

     Anchor: And now it does not make sense, does it?

     Zyuganov: No, I don't, I believe that 142 votes is little but
if it is 200, one may try to hold a meeting and to try to collect
226 votes. 

     Anchor: And throw off the government?
     Zyuganov: Not throw off, to form a normal government.

     Anchor: No, no, no. First you say non-confidence then it is to
throw off.

     Zyuganov: It may be forced to resign and a strong government
could be established. This could be done. 

     Anchor: Gennady Andreyevich, do you see a prime minister who
would replace Kasyanov? Is there a man who could cope now in a dire
situation, with oil prices falling and assume responsibility
together with Putin? Do you have such people in your faction?

     Zyuganov: There aren't few of them in the country...

     Anchor: No, there are 150 million in the country, Gennady

     Zyuganov: Stop, stop, stop. This country has quite a few
clever and educated leaders. It is still surviving because the
average link of the leaders even in this economic lawlessness and
crime is somehow managing to keep the economy from falling apart
and even to develop it.     
     I told this repeatedly to Putin and I even named a whole team.
I do not wish to give names here because tomorrow they will just
take them out only because I named them. 

     Anchor: Good, let us say including...

     Zyuganov: Well, let's take a look at the governors from the
Far East, the Maritime Territory and then Ishayev who is a clever
and solid economic manager, and he knows what Siberia, winter and
the Far East are.
     If you look at Altai, there is Surikov and he is doing a lot
of social construction and developing it. You take a look at the
Urals, Sumin, a major region, strong and well organized.

     Anchor: A government of territories.

     Zyuganov: There are no problems. 

     Anchor: It is not a political government.

     Zyuganov: What do you mean not political?

     Anchor: Not political.

     Zyuganov: I tried to persuade Putin in my time to make Stroyev
the prime minister instead of sacking the whole Federation Council.
And then things would improve vastly. Time was lost and the
decision was not made. We have a lot of competent people.
Vinogradov in Vladimir is someone for whom the center and the left
and even the right vote because they understand that he is a highly
qualified individual.

     Anchor: You have touched on a very important subject there and
I don't want to miss it. Many political forces are in favor of the
government being formed after the December election as a government
responsible to the State Duma, and of course, to the President, but
on the basis of the government majority. And you are proposing --

     Zyuganov: Alexei, stop.

     Anchor: And you are proposing a gubernatorial majority.

     Zyuganov: No, no.

     Anchor: What is your view on this?

     Zyuganov: No, you got it wrong.

     Anchor: What do you propose then?

     Zyuganov: If today you look at the power system, it is
absolutely wrong. It is a cripple. There is the President who
spends days sitting with the ministers and giving them directions
and they do nothing to fulfill his directives. This is not a
presidential republic. In a presidential republic the President
heads up the government and is jointly responsible with the
government for everything he and they do. And then there is the
parliamentary form, in which the parliamentary majority elects a
government and answerable together with that government. And we
have fallen into this pit, we don't have capitalism, we don't have
socialism, we have a system of criminal clans working under the
government which is implementing a right-wing policy and that
policy is rejected by 90 percent of the citizens.
     So, let us repair the Constitution, let us balance the power
structure, let us hold elections and then there will be a chance --
we, the Communist Party, are ready together with other patriotic
forces to present a program and a team of individuals. Let us go on
the air together with our opponents and let them say how they
propose to solve problems and we will say how we propose to solve
problems and let the citizens choose. We are ready, the Duma
majority is ready to assume the full responsibility, to form a
government and to answer to the citizens of our country.

     Anchor: So, you agree that it is desirable that the government
should be responsible before the Duma.

     Zyuganov: It is responsible now... Kasyanov is responsible
before Yeltsin. Kudrin is responsible before --

     Anchor: What do you mean Yeltsin? Yeltsin is a pensioner. What
are you talking about? You mean before Putin?

     Zyuganov: Listen, maybe before Yumashev. Kudrin is responsible
before Chubais, I can continue the list. There is no normal
government working as a team. Some key figures in the government
are missing, there's no person responsible for the winter season...
Shoigu has got rid of his duty of party building and he probably
sighed with relief. He will now perhaps be on time for the next
fire or perhaps see to it that plugs are changed in time so that
schools do not burn.  And now they have recruited Gryzlov. Just as
he got the hang of his new job heading up the police. I have worked
with him for ten years, I know what it is. And they told him to
attend to party building. Top cop performs the role of a party
functionary. What can be more idiotic for Gryzlov and for the Unity
party? Any terrorist act, any disruption of public law and order
can be blamed on this... I don't know why they are so dumb, why
they are unable to think strategically. They can't even prepare
personnel for normal work.

     Anchor: Gennady Andreyevich, still on the subject of
elections. Parties are springing up which will contest the
elections, they call themselves left-wing parties, I mean the
Revival of Russia party led by Gennady Seleznyov on the one hand
and we heard today that the National Bolshevik party is ready to go
to the elections on the other side. How do you rate the chances of
these parties?

     Zyuganov: Alexei, this country is very sick. One in every two
persons thinks he can be a president and everyone thinks he can be
a State Duma deputy. This is the root of the tragedy. There are
normally three or four parties, and the rest are trying to help
them. With us parties can be formed by one member of the Duma. This
is ridiculous. And then there are artificially created, inflated
parties. Surkov and Voloshin are sitting there and planning how
much money to pump into whom. This is a travesty of the political
system. Seleznyov won't be able to produce anything useful, they
will inflate parties and pull the Communist Party apart.
     And if they want a normal governable system in the country,
let the establishment party develop, the left wing has created a
powerful Communist Party together with the Agrarians and other
patriots. And on the right flank we never had and never will have
a strong party. Zhirinovsky is the embodiment of the present-day
administration. As for the right wingers, they may grab all the
money and all the TV cameras, but given the situation in Russia
today, they will never gain more than 10 percent of the vote. So,
the real contest will be between two parties. And they are creating
party after party.
     Even if tomorrow everyone rallies around the Russian Communist
Party, you will see that these guys will set up a party of
Brezhnev's grandson and some other kind of national bolshevik party
or some other caricature disguised as a party of pensioners and
will dupe people. Is it the case that the establishment party was
not in a position to create a party structure in ten years? No it
is not. And why is it changing the fifth hat in a row? Why is it
putting on a different mask every day? Because it is stealing the
budget, it is destroying the country, and it is doing so under
different masks by duping people.

     Anchor: We have already said that we will resume our work on
the program "There Is Also Such a Party" in the run-up to the
election. We will give equal chances to all parties.

     Zyuganov: By the way, it was a good and a popular program.

     Anchor: I would like to ask you, Gennady Andreyevich, and our
listeners are asking this question. They don't understand your
position on the procedure of no-confidence in the government. On
the one hand, they say that the government is appointed by the
President and the President is responsible for its policy, but on
the other hand, citing Grigory Yavlinsky yesterday in the Itogi
program, they say that this offers a chance to discuss the work of
the government in a certain format. Why two parties, it may be

     Zyuganov: There are two possibilities of having a discussion.
One can shut oneself inside the Duma or one can take all the
materials and arguments and go to the respective constituencies. We
set the target of each of our candidates  and incumbent deputies
holding 300 meetings with members of his or her constituency every
     We have reported to 12 regions, and another 10 such visits are
scheduled for May. I must say that our events are extremely
popular.  That is where we can be assured of support, and on May 1
and 9 we can go out into the streets and say again no to this
course, no to this government. And then we will be able to persuade
at least fifty more deputies and the motion can be put before a
plenary session of the Duma.

     Anchor: I understand the logic. Now for another question. Each
time you and the leaders of various parties come to the studio, I
ask them the same question because this is election year. Gennady
Andreyevich, what would the Communist Party regard as a successful
outcome of this election? You might say that you will win 450
seats, but nobody would believe in it. What will your party
consider as an electoral success?

     Zyuganov: Voloshin's group are gnashing their teeth because
support for our party is growing with every passing month. It has
topped 30 percent. In some regions, 40 or 45 percent. I think that
if our people work energetically, and I demand that everyone should
work in the periphery, in every village and region and present his
or her program -- we have everything to show for us. We can come to
the people and say, this is how our faction has worked in
parliament, this is our team, these are our priority measures, this
is our budget policy.

     Anchor: I understand, but what do you consider to be a
successful result?

     Zyuganov: We have a real chance, the minimum target is to have
a blocking vote, 150 seats in the State Duma.

     Anchor: Including single-mandate candidates?

     Zyuganov: Yes. And the maximum program -- together with allies
-- to get a majority of 226 required for passing the first reading
of laws. I think this is realistic.

     Anchor: Who are the allies?

     Zyuganov: The allies have agreed to hold negotiations with
some thirty groups: the agri-industrial alliance, Starodubtsev and
Kharitonov; agrarian trade unions, Davydov; the military, Rodionov;
Ilyukhin, the women's movement along with the youth movement,
science led by Alfyorov, a very powerful and authoritative team
they will make up together.

     Anchor: Which brings me back to the topic of May 1. If I
understand you correctly, if the demonstrations on May 1, mainly
under the CPRF flag are numerous then it makes sense to raise the
issue of no confidence?

     Zyuganov: I think that the more powerful, the more
well-organized these manifestations are, the more clearly they will
express this position. We have prepared a resolution calling for
the resignation of the government, a change of course and for a
normal information policy. And we have called on all citizens. At
10 o'clock in the morning in Moscow they will get together in
Kaluzhskaya Square. The route will reach Lubyanka. Incidentally, we
will have a rally and a concert in Moscow, not just a meeting. It
will be a big concert. 

     Anchor: Will you hold a rock concert?

     Zyuganov: It will be a big rock concert, you will see that. By
the way, the young respond willingly because they have also become
tired because of this lawlessness and they will sing many very
patriotic songs. We invite you.

     Anchor: Wait, what kind of a rock concert will it be coming
from the CPRF?

     Zyuganov: Incidentally, we have a very powerful youth
structure who are actively participating and preparing, quite a
curious culture which is being actively utilized to destroy the
country. I believe that it is necessary to make them work for
creative purposes.

     Anchor: In this connection, talking about the features of May
1, 2003 for several years quite serious manifestations have been
held and especially with slogans of government resignation. Gennady
Andreyevich, let us talk honestly of this: three years in a row and
what is the novelty of this demonstration in terms of slogans?

     Zyuganov: Alexei, the mood is radicalizing. I have held tens
of meetings with women's and youth and veterans' audiences,
knowledgeable academicians or simply ordinary people who come, some
of them even with no socks on their feet -- they are radicalizing:
they believe that this course is absolutely harmful, they believe
that one should display more resolve and action. Now the conflict
is over the sale of land, people see how the energy system is
getting destroyed. So the slogan is not just the resignation of the
government but it is also the need to put together a team capable
of taking the country out of those deep waters. And I wish to say
that such protests are rising. 
     Secondly, people are absolutely displeased with the
information policy. With their own money, from morn till dusk they
throw the wool over people's eyes and lies are oozing, that's how
it is and we intend to carry out actions and pickets against the
state television and radio companies that engage in this. 
     And the third topic is impoverishment, corruption and drug
addition. These are the three basic themes that will be developed
at all the manifestations.

     Anchor: Gennady Andreyevich, you reminded me about 1993. Ten
years ago at this time the pickets were radicalizing outside
Ostankino and there were clashes with militia and I would wish you
to introduce clarity on this subject.

     Zyuganov: Alexei, I will add clarity. We have made so many
actions over the past 10 years, we have not broken a single shop
window. And we urge the authorities to abide by the norms and rules
of behavior. They violate those rules right and left. Already there
is no dialog in the State Duma itself. It is already impossible to
express a view in the State Duma and to defend one's position. The
so-called gray unity is everywhere, violating the elementary norms
of the rules of procedure and law.
     The last time we held a demonstration against war, officials
came and said you will not hold the manifestation. And I told them
we will. I said I would head the demonstration myself but I assured
them that we will go and we will fully control the situation and
there will be order. But if all go each on their own, you will be
     That is why today I held a big operational meeting, I convened
all. There will be 3,000 officers guarding the action, we met with
the military, the special troops and all others. We are interested
in the order and on May 1 and 9 we will do everything to keep
order. But today the provocateurs sit in the Kremlin and are
personified by the Putin administration. They are engaged in these
unsightly practices and provocations starting with Those Going
Together, and last time they wanted to go with brooms following
their fathers and grand parents; and all the way to other nasty
     I would like to say that there they provoke, there are
specialists who engage in these practices. Let them be invited,
including by the Patrushev service, and let them find out why such
things are happening.

     Anchor: Gennady Andreyevich, one more question. Three years
ago when President Putin was elected the President of Russia, the
Communist Party received that election with alert expectation, to
put it mildly although he was our political opponent at the
elections but nevertheless you said on the air in our studio that
the newcomer was a young and active officer from the special
services and so on. This is by way of reminding you.
     Did your expectations come true or they did not? And if they
did then in what?

     Zyuganov: He is conducting a dialog with different forces and
he meets with people and factions and so on. But he did not put
together his own strategy, his policy, his government. He does not
guarantee elementary security and I am telling you what my
electorate tell me.
     And then you look around, it is Easter, you bow on this bright
day and you cross yourself. And at the same time his parliament and
his majority introduce the INN (the individual taxation number),
opposed by the Orthodox public. It makes your hair to stand on air.
     They say that he is from the security service and they have a
perfect idea there of what corruption is and what is the
destruction of the entire management system. He has not done
anything to suppress this. He is supreme commander in chief, he is
a military man, he can see what is going on. In this year Russia
has not ordered a single helicopter. He is perfectly aware that the
modern war and security cannot be won without this service. But
nothing is done. 
     The group of "Russkiye Vityazi" came. The youngest aircraft is
14 years old, the best group of pilots have nothing to fly in. I
could go on listing these things. He came -- 3-4 regions got frozen
in the Far East and much is being frozen right now, to boot.  The
first Message was hopeful, the second was frustrating and the third
is one that you may dispense with the trouble of attending, it
makes no sense. They do not know what to say. In foreign policy it
is complete lack of clarity. There is one more lack of clarity with
the Union State. As regards major economic programs -- nothing is
being offered. 

     Anchor: You mean there is disenchantment, we are losing time.
The country is slipping onto the sidelines. It gets corrupted. It
is first in extinction, in corruption, in prostitution. It is
simply humiliating. It would seem he is quite a young man and he
can take measures. And he even failed to expel Voloshin with his
caboodle, to say nothing the one with Chubais.

     Anchor: And why did you do it in regard to Alexander

     Zyuganov: It is simply a shame.

     Anchor: But how could you?

     Zyuganov: It is simply a shame, simply outrageous.

     Anchor: Gennady Andreyevich, one more question to conclude. An
ordinary trainee from St.Petersburg sent this message this morning:
"Will a CPRF candidate be running for the governor of St.Petersburg
and if yes, has it been decided who?" People are interested and
concerned -- St.Petersburg voters as to who will run for governor.
Don't be insincere, Gennady Andreyevich. 

     Zyuganov: I am not. I intend to travel to Leningrad in May...
to St.Petersburg. It is my favorite city and it will turn 300.

     Anchor: So it is your favorite city?

     Zyuganov: Yes, I like it very much. When I got to Leningrad
for the first time it was a beautiful city of the power. The
buildings and the layout are unique. It is a city of world glory,
the city of the revolution, the city of unheard of courage and
heroism. One has to be honest in regard to...
     But of course in such a city as this one has to invest funds
from the whole of the country but now the nation's wallet is empty
and it is even difficult to organize something for the holiday. But
I would wish to meet there with the most influential groups and
discuss things. It is because much in the country will depend on
the people in charge there. 

     Anchor: We will wait for your answer, Gennady Andreyevich. I
hope that you will give the answer and the Communist Party will
give the answer because the St.Petersburg governor is doubtless a
figure of federal stature.

     Zyuganov: Of course.

     Anchor: Thank you very much. The CPRF leader Gennady
Andreyevich Zyuganov was guest of Ekho Moskvy. Thank you.

     Zyuganov: Thank you.


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