Moderator: Good morning, and welcome to RIA Novosti Club. Let us start in. Obviously, Russia's geopolitical position in its immediate surroundings is not quite favorable. The Baltic countries have come under the wing of the European Union, revolutions have taken place in Georgia and Ukraine and they are anything but pro- Russian in character. And similar there may be a change of regime in Kirghizia and Moldova. To complete the picture, there are American Air Force bases in Central Asia. So, what should be Russia's foreign policy? So, the topic is the Russian foreign policy in the post- Soviet space. Our guest today is Gleb Pavlovsky, President of the Effective Policy Fund.
Pavlovsky: Good morning. Right off, I would like to take issue with the moderator because the external situation for Russia, at least in terms of our strategic security, is by no means growing worse. It has been bad since the early 1990, and perhaps it has even improved slightly since that time. It is a political fact that Russia is the only post-Soviet state that has never got any security safeguards from any international organization. Constantly to all assurances -- and there were many assurances in the early 1990s on the part of practically all the European and Euroatlantic international organizations -- Russia had to take care of its own security. Moreover, the European and Euroatlantic structures take it for granted that Russia today and in the future should itself ensure its own security without any external guarantees.
We cannot afford to underestimate that circumstance. We take that as a given. This is not a new situation, it existed ten years ago, but our political class had very little awareness of it. What changes are likely to take place in our concept of a policy in the post-Soviet space and in the mechanisms of implementing that policy?
First of all, Russia is currently revising its policy in the post-Soviet space and the mechanisms of implementing it. First of all, the concept of "the near abroad" has been abandoned. It is dead. And one shouldn't expect attempts to resuscitate it. It was the concept of the "near abroad" that had led to the primitivization of Russian foreign policy in the early 1990s. On the other hand, it was based on the assumption that international organizations and the world community would offer Russia security safeguards within the framework of the "near abroad". Because this has not materialized the topic is no longer relevant. I mean the topic of the "near abroad". The doctrine of the "near abroad" was based on the idea of bringing in the resources of the international community and the international organizations in order to preserve the Soviet-era level of security for Russia. There is no point in criticizing this myth today, but the fact remains that it is no longer valid.
That naturally weakens the Commonwealth of Independent States which also arose within the same doctrine. During this time new structures have emerged in the post-Soviet space, you know EurAsEC, CES, and so on, and it makes no sense to link them to the old concepts.
Secondly, though it is not directly related to the post-Soviet space, one should be aware that over the coming years, at least until the end of President Putin's tenure and probably until the end of the presidency of his immediate successors, the Russian foreign policy priority will be turning Russia into a world power of the 21st century or, if you like, regaining the status of a world 21st century power. And this in spite of the fact that at present we have a weak regional power with a weak commodity-oriented economy. This is a big challenge and it should be tackled on the basis of a totally realistic idea of ourselves, our neighbors and our allies.
I think Russia proceeds from these principles in its relations with its partners in the post-Soviet space: common sense and a much greater degree of transparency which began to increase from last year. The position assumed by Russia during the elections in Ukraine was the first attempt at conducting an open policy, as President Putin pointed out in a meeting with the Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. For the first time the president formulated in a very candid way the doctrinal circumstance, the concept that Russia has adhered to and will adhere to in relation to its neighbors, namely, Russia will not devise political schemes and projects behind the backs of sovereign governments in the post-Soviet space. In other words, Russia recognizes the special priority of interstate relations with democratically elected authorities that exist in a sovereign country, be it Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Armenia or any other. This principle remains.
In this connection I would like to draw your attention to Putin's words that Russia will not intrigue, will not interact with the opposition behind the incumbents. Putin did not say that Russia would not interact with the opposition openly. So Russia will certainly interact with the entire political spectrum in the neighboring countries, both official and opposition, including nongovernmental organizations. I stress however that we are talking about democratic organizations and systemic political groups, certainly not about extremist, radical or underground groups. Russia's political contacts with such groups in the neighboring countries is out of the question.
In the future, the president of our partner country or allied country, while preserving the role of our central partner, sort of representative of a relevant state, will not be regarded by Russia as the sole and only representative of the entire society. So while enjoying a full authority of a representative of top Ukrainian power, Mr. Yushchenko certainly not regarded by us as a person who has the exclusive right to interpret the position of Ukrainian society, political and nongovernmental organizations.
By the way another unconditional revision that is already in progress is the attitude towards interaction with NGOs in Eastern Europe. We are beginning to interact and will interact with them. We think that during the election in Ukraine there was an underestimation and a low level of interaction between Russian society and Ukrainian NGOs. I think we will try to avoid such an underestimation in the future.
And there comes of course the question of the EU. Interaction between Russia and the EU as competition for space is a very popular topic. This is a very primitive concept, it is primitive even for military geopolitics, because it does not reflect reality. From our point of view the EU, even with the present level of participation of Central and East European countries, is acquiring an increasingly open nature, including for Russian politics and interests. Russia certainly welcomes the appearance within the EU of a broader range of countries, even though we are building our relations both with the representatives of the old EU elite and representatives of the new EU members that increase the EU's Eastern orientation. The EU becomes more and more East-oriented organization, which makes it more perceptive to our arguments.
But again there is a conflict, and Russia must formulate its position clearly. During the election in Ukraine, the leader of one the EU countries, Mr. Kwasniewski, offered a political formula that sums up that is and will be rejected in Russia officially by the majority of political forces. It can be called the Kwasniewski doctrine. His formula is as follows: it is better Ukraine without Russia than Ukraine with Russia. This concept is as anti-Russian as it is anti-European. This concept is based on the assumption that Europe will build a wall, a new line of confrontation, and countries will be asked to take sides.
We assess this doctrine as a concept designed to impose restrictions on Russia and throw it back. I emphasize once again that an attempt by any country in Europe, in the East or West, strong or weak, to encourage the doctrine of Russia's recoil will certainly create a conflict in relations with this country. This must be clearly understood. Not to say that it's stupid, it's an attempt to apply to the large number of problems associated with the consolidation of Europe some artificial geopolitical scheme that does not reflect any relevant tasks. This must be ruled out.
We will closely monitor the behavior of countries with regard to this doctrine. We have noticed attempts by some Baltic countries to play this game. We will object to this, and we will reject this. By the way, another thing that has yet to be clarified is the area of Russia's interests. Some time in the future Russia will become a world power again, and it will have a global area of interests. However it is not so now. Now our area of interests is not global and does not cover the entire world.
There are a number of countries where we have our interests. And the admission of some of these countries to the EU or even NATO will not mean that they will fall out of the area of our interests. The Baltic countries are certainly within this area of interests, particularly on such issues as transit or the position with regard to the Russian language and the Russian community, the status of the Russian community in the Baltic countries. This situation will not change depending on what unions those countries join. We will certainly use their accession to new organizations to intensify monitoring of what concerns our interests and to influence them. Their EU membership has not reduced, on the contrary, it increased Russia's influence on the situation in the Baltic states. Such a paradox. In this sense, we perfectly realize this.
The revolution in Ukraine is not a matter, will not be a matter for mutual relations between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian revolution was not on the agenda of discussions between Yushchenko and Putin during their meeting. Actually, we are not interested in it as a topic, even though in Russia we have formulated our attitude to phenomena of that sort.
In relations with Ukraine, we do not have any new problems. No new problems have emerged. The situation around the nomination of Ms Timoshenko has often been referred to as a problem existing between Russia and Ukraine. There is no such problem. Ms Timoshenko, as our bureaucrats and our business people know well, is an individual with a very high ability to reach accords. She has confirmed this many times by making deals in Russia. This is what has caused particular interest on the part of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office. But those deals do not indicate that it is impossible to come to terms with her. On the contrary, they show that she has very good, well established ties in Russia. Naturally, we can only hail this.
Russia has a lot of information on some, perhaps, dubious, as seen by our legislation, specifics of biographies of various politicians in the post-Soviet space. But this has not prevented our interaction with those countries because we have focused on top priorities. So, one should realize that Russia has not made any particular stakes here. But we have certainly monitored the observance by Ukraine, and we will proceed with this monitoring, regular monitoring, of the observance by Ukraine of reached accords, both formally finalized and preliminary accords. In this sphere, it is also possible to formulate certain principles. Russia only expresses its attitude to the intention to join in the 21st century or next century, Ukraine's intention to join this or that organization. But Russia will certainly not let integration programs in progress between Russia and Ukraine become a source of financing of a policy aimed at moving in a different direction. It will make sure that they will not become a cover, a financial guarantee for political risks related to Ukraine's joining the European Union. Naturally, Russia is not going to finance a policy aimed at Ukraine's EU membership. That's obvious. And this will also be monitored.
So, retaining a multi-vector nature -- using Mr. Kuchma's formula -- if Ukraine tries to use this multi-vector formula to finance its risks at the expense of Russia, using integration schemes, naturally this will cause certain problems and will be blocked in some way or other.
We are totally satisfied with the current level of our relations with Belarus. And there is one thing which time has come to formulate. Russia will make a clear difference between certain qualities of a political regime in the neighboring countries and their observance of commitments, including allied commitments. Belarus is a model ally. It has been a successful country in economic terms. By the way, it is a European country. And the fact that certain political groups in Belarus cannot, are unable to form an opposition is their problem, not Russia's problem. Russia will certainly not, as Putin has said, form any opposition projects in its neighboring countries. Russia will not sponsor opposition projects in the neighboring countries. This is our clear position.
Naturally, to make those and other changes in our policy, certain organizational measures will be taken. The campaign in Ukraine showed obvious drawbacks in the organizational sphere and in terms of support by various agencies for the implementation of our foreign policy. We have also lacked concept support, in particular, by artificial, in my opinion, limitation of those involved in discussions on certain decisions, including government experts. I think the range of foreign political concepts and expert opinions will be wider in the future and will be taken into account as certain units develop in the framework of our executive and legislative branches of power and a number of permanent caucuses will exist in the sphere and will advance into new sectors in the executive, the president's office and the government.
Those organizational issues are now being dealt with and decisions will be announced in the near future, I think. If you have questions, I will be ready to expand on that.
Moderator: Well, let us pass on to questions.
Q: Russian Radio. What mistakes in political strategy or political technology in Ukraine are you ready admit, you personally?
Pavlovsky: Me personally? The main one is opportunism, I think. I was too restrained in my estimates, when expressing my views in Ukraine. I rather behaved as a diplomat than a consultant. I have to say that I had no authority to consult on behalf of my government, I only had some powers in the information field and mind you, I was not the only one who had them. But of course, I did not permit myself to pursue my own strategy in the Ukrainian campaign, and I think it was probably my mistake. Because my American and European, Polish and other colleagues who worked with the opposition were much less restrained.
The second point where I probably share the deficiencies of our mass media -- all that we could do that could be of use in the information sphere to the forces that we backed and the politicians that we backed was immersed in a hideous cocktail of our show business and mass culture, a stinking mess that the Russian audience somehow is capable of absorbing but that I think discredits Russia outside its borders. The image of Russia that our television projects in the sphere of mass culture, the image of a criminal Russia is something that we can afford for internal consumption, but we forget that this is being watched with horror by people in the whole of the post-Soviet space, by all the Russian-speaking people. All these Verka Serdyuchkas, all these endless Cossack dances, it is ridiculous to see Russia exporting this to the territory of Ukraine which has its own Cossacks and its own Cossack myths. This is at once funny and embarrassing.
And, perhaps, that was another shortcoming, I was probably not doing enough to explain to my media colleagues, above all colleagues in the electronic media, my own opinion, perhaps, being mindful of the cramped conditions in which they had to work.
Q: Gleb Olegovich, your colleagues are already saying that there will be no presidential election in 2008 because as early as 2007 Putin will resign under the pressure of popular protest. What is your opinion?
Pavlovsky: My opinion which does not happen to be just my opinion, is as follows. Small countries can afford to be unstable and unpredictable. Such countries as, for example -- but I would rather not name them. They can afford to convert the topics of poisoning of politicians into political topics or the topic of revolution into an internal political topic. Russia has committed itself to regaining world power status and it has assumed certain obligations. Not only the Russian authorities, but it's society and it's opposition. In particular, the opposition has no right to collaborate with radical extremists operating outside the system. A person who identifies himself with the opposition has no right -- especially in a country which emerged as a victor in 1945 -- to offer society a flag that copies the flag of Nazi Germany. I mean the National Bolshevik Party. Russia, strictly speaking, has no right not to impose a ban on such a party as the NBP. Russia may categorically declare that it rules out revolutions on its territory. This is our internal political task not an external political task, if our authorities and our opposition -- and they agree with the goal of restoring a world role for Russia -- intend to build a coherent policy they are assuming the duty of preserving strategic security on gigantic post-Soviet space. So, there will be no revolutions in Russia. And all the projects of this kind will be stopped proportionately or perhaps even disproportionately, depending on how pernicious these attempts are. You should make no mistake about that.
I would like to note of course that many parties that call themselves liberal permit themselves some odd behavior. I've been asked, for example, what was my share of the blame. Well, one political mistake Russia made in Ukraine during the elections was underestimating the attraction of the European Union and the problems connected with the fact that our countries are already having common borders with the European Community.
Who is to blame for such underestimation? In my opinion, the blame for this must lie with the Western-oriented so-called liberal political parties though none of which puts forward the task of joining the European Union. It is amazing, but our liberals are not formulating such a goal regardless of whether it is realistic.
In other words, the European theme has no political lobby in this country. And this leads to slip ups in the work of the authorities. The authorities cannot be smarter than society, the conservatives and the liberals taken together. This never happens.
Q: What is your forecast regarding the fate of Leonid Kuchma? Leonid Kuchma made his choice in November-December and decided to be the master of his destiny. Or, rather, he chose the masters of his destiny.
Pavlovsky: Well, I think he should be discussing his destiny with them. And I think this is what he is doing at the moment.
Q: And the fact that the Supreme Rada yesterday proposed that he should be put on trial?
Pavlovsky: This is exactly what I have in mind. Mr. Kuchma is openly haggling over his personal future and he has exchanged these safeguards and preferences for the fate of his policy and, in a sense, the fate of his state. May God judge him. But from now on he will have to bear the consequences of all the risks.
Q: What is your forecast regarding the situation in Kirghizia and Moldova?
Pavlovsky: We are following the elections in Moldova and Kirghizia with interest. These are very different countries. Moldova is a good example of a country where Russia interacts with all the political forces and seeks to work with the whole population of the country. Especially since Ukraine and Moldova have parliamentary systems and that system offers many more opportunities in that way.
Russia does not put its stake on any particular forces in Moldova. We will wait for the outcome of the elections and the formation of a new administration until the end of spring, perhaps, the new administration will be in a better position to sign treaties than the incumbent administration. But unlike the US we are not trying to play against the present administration on the side of the opposition. But we interact, and we have very good contacts in all systemic fields, at least with the opposition in Moldova. Our specialists, I stress non-government specialists working with practically all political forces in Moldova on a non-government basis, without guarantees or support from the Kremlin. So it's free competition.
As for Kyrgyzstan, Russia and the US have identical approaches, which is good but does not always happen, that are based on the priority of stability and freedom in conditions of strategic stability, because we support different forces in Kyrgyzstan. But as far as we know, the US and Russian priorities in Kyrgyzstan are the strategic stability of this part of Central Asia because no one can allow chaos to begin there. So if you mean chances of the party of power in Kyrgyzstan to retain power or --
Q: Actually I meant a possible repetition of radical scenarios involving mass public actions in Kyrgyzstan, similar to those in Ukraine. How much can the situation deteriorate there, and what consequences can this have?
Pavlovsky: As we could see in the 1990s, there were different radical scenarios and attempts to carry out different radical scenarios. As a rule, they were based on the use of force and violence. Russia will certainly not support this. And should this happen, we will offer help to the constitutional authorities of Kyrgyzstan. However I don't know of any opposition political forces in Kyrgyzstan that adhere to non-violent views. This is why we are very cautious about the Kyrgyz opposition's plans. However the opposition must explain its actions, intentions and instruments it is going to use. This is our position with regard to any political force in Eastern Europe. We are open. So explain to us what goals you are going to pursue. What instruments you are going to use, and we will then decide on the level of interaction with this political force. We do not reject contacts, but we want understanding.
Q: One can often hear Russian experts and mass media say that a certain group of Russian experts who were molding Putin's position on Ukraine passed their own material and financial interests for the interests of the Russian state. Could you comment on this please? And will you be morally and psychologically prepared to act as a consultant in the parliamentary in Ukraine in 2006?
Pavlovsky: On your first question I can say with confidence that it's not so, not only with regard to myself but also with regard to other groups or consultants who may be my competitors theoretically. This did not happen for one simple reason: what commercial interest may there be in a certain orientation of the Russian leadership?
The Ukrainian political market is open. Our firms worked in this market along with other political forces. In all cases they worked on a commercial basis, with no exception. Mr. Parashenko made very unambiguous commercial offers to me personally, which I had to reject because they would have caused a conflict of interests. This is why I cannot say that it would not have been commercially beneficial to interact with Our Ukraine. May be on the contrary. If we look at the estimates published by the US, they may be quite interesting for any consultant. And I think that very many took it this way. There was no such situation. It rather reflects the overall low level, much to our regret, of our press that in all cases prefers, while avoiding political analysis to blame everything on money. Apparently this reflects the basis on which our press operates.
As for the year 2006, the question is whether Ukraine will have a real opposition by that time. Actually this is an open question. We are in the very beginning. Such notions as Mr. Yushchenko, Our Ukraine, the SDPU (United), or others are only labels, with nothing behind them. It's a clean page. We are waiting for action. Depending on what actions taken, we will decide then how to proceed.
What I saw in Ukraine indicates that as a rule a considerable part of the Ukrainian elite is beginning to be supported by new authorities after presidential elections. It may be commercially attractive, but it raises political concerns.
Q: What is your forecasts for the common economic space? Because it was created largely for Ukraine. But how will the situation evolve now?
Pavlovsky: I disagree that the common economic space was created for Ukraine. But what is true that it was created for a high level of integration, including direct integration between Russian and Ukrainian and between Russian and Belarussian economies. It's a fact.
It will certainly go through a period of trials now. But it's not a short-lived project because the development of these ties will continue. The levels of these ties has not decreased. Moreover, ties continue to develop. Russia will simply pay more attention to ensuring that these ties are not used to implement other countries' projects at the expense of Russia. But as we have all heard, Ukraine is going to watch this too. So I would say that the common economic space will be revised but not curtailed. And I think that the CES may change its parameters and the pace of development. Different groups may emerge within it that will develop at differing speeds. But as we all know from the history of Europe, it's a natural process.
A member of the Chinese government, Tang Jiaxuan, he is vice premier, is in Moscow on a visit at the invitation of Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov. Tang Jiaxuan was received by President Putin at the Kremlin yesterday. Newspapers say that it is the commencement of a security regime. How would you comment on this in light of the events in Ukraine?
Pavlovsky: The Russian Security Council certainly functions, and I can't say that it did not function until now. But its priorities were set a long time ago. It's just that today, as Russia is drafting a new security concept the role of different agencies in ensuring security will change. The Security Council plays a very big role. When I spoke about the group of agencies that are somewhat liking coordination even though they are working in the same field, I meant the Security Council as well.
The Security Council is a structure in charge of integration processes in the post-Soviet space and Eastern Europe. But I'd say that our political objective today is to formalize the Russian integration community that involves the Foreign Ministry, the Security Council, and international integration organizations in the post-Soviet space. How to consolidate our efforts is something to be decided by a number of agencies, including the Security Council.
Relations with China are of course among our traditional priorities, they are open and become increasingly interesting and hold a lot of promise as the agenda of our relations with China is broadening, and the Security Council is certainly playing a leading role in developing a new agenda.
Q: If we go back to Ukraine, will it be possible to restore the trust of Ukrainian political elites towards Russia in 2006 and form pro-Russian political elites that could have a majority or at least an impressive representation in the parliament and produce a president who would adhere to a more pro-Russian policy?
Pavlovsky: I think that Russia should not form elites in neighboring countries. It's unbearable task. Even the US has not succeeded in doing so. But Russia should watch its friends in neighboring countries and interact closer with them, encourage them with its policy and support, just as it began doing last year. I do not think that relations with Ukrainian elites are at a low level. Judging from their presence in Moscow, I would even say that the level of interaction has risen.
But of course Russia will perceive a pro-Russian concept in a new way. I don't want to elaborate on this because it's a rather abstract theme, but I want to assure you that the version of a pro- Russian concept or a pro-Russian positioning that was proposed last year by Mr. Kuchma will not longer be taken for its face value.
Q: How would you assess Russia's foreign policy with regard to the resolution of conflicts in the South Caucasus, particularly the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan? And another question. After George Bush's re-election the State Department issued three statements saying that it recognized Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and would not make contact with the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. What may be behind these statements?
Pavlovsky: The position of Russia is well known: it recognized the territorial integrity of all our partners in the post-Soviet space within the internationally recognized borders. Nothing will change if we state it one, two, three or even ten times. I don't think that three statements added value to this position. I believe that Russia has made such statements more than three times.
It's a question of how successful the actual policy is. The Caucasus is a very complex region for the US, which is far away, for the EU, which is closer, and for Russia, which is present there. Our joint efforts with all countries in the region, including Azerbaijan and Armenia, to work out a more or less internationally acceptable policy and security in the Caucasus have failed. So I think that the world will be happy if it can forget the problems of the Caucasus, just as it forgot the problems of Indochina, and no one really remembered them until the tsunami, even though it used to be a central issue in the past. Being in the center of interests does not benefit the Caucasus, and America and Russia have constantly problems and conduct high level consultations on the Caucasus, and not always publicly.
Washington does not always understand us, but we believe that security in the Caucasus, or maybe in the Caspian-Caucasus region as a whole, may be achieved only through the recognition of all borders that have been established and recognized by the international community. In other words, there is no double dealing. We just think that attempts to change the status quo that exists de facto are very dangerous, as we could all see in Georgia, which is trying, more nervously than is actually necessary, to impose its own ways to solve all problems. This leads to an unpredictable policy. And unfortunately Georgia is not a donor of security and stability in the Caucasus today. Russia is trying to be such a donor.
Q: Gleb Olegovich, what did you have in mind when you spoke about a symmetric and asymmetric responses of the authorities for the sake of stability? Does it have something to do with the current spontaneous unrest and protests against monetization?
Pavlovsky: Well, the unrest -- that I consider to be a positive phenomenon. I would say that the current unrest over the shape of the reform of social benefits and monetization of benefits is part of a normal democratic process and in a sense it has a positive impact on the development of our political culture. The government has taken a more professional attitude to the problems of that reform. The citizens have made their position known.
But the problem lies elsewhere. The problem is whether or not somebody will try to manipulate it. The United States has declared the promotion of democracy to be its priority. We have the same priority. The only thing Russia will always object to is attempts to use the program of democracy development as a cover for creating a democracy controlled from outside. We are often reproached for seeking a controlled democracy, but there are many more examples of democracy being controlled from outside. There are many more attempts to build systems of democracy controlled from without.
And I must say that in Ukraine Russia has very clearly indicated just how far it is prepared to go -- this is often overlooked. That limit was reached when high level agreements were signed between mediators in the conflict at the end of law year. After that Russia, unlike the United States and the European Union, did not try to bring any pressure on the process. In fact, they are trying to go even further. In that sense, Russia will, of course, oppose such attempts.
When I speak about the attitude towards subversive activities, that is a very different pair of shoes. Rallies and demonstrations are normal instruments. But they can be harnessed by subversive elements. One can safely say (a) that no administration in Russia, whether under Putin or not under Putin, will fight revolutionary projects as unconstitutional by all legitimate means. That is obvious, the authorities are bound to behave legitimately. Naturally, we will use legitimate means to fight off attempts to make our political spectrum more pro-fascist and proposals to make class struggle or the national liberation struggle the focus of our policy, as some parties in the Duma have recently proposed. Because I repeat, any attempt to push Russia back into the period it has only recently lived through will tend to diminish the legitimacy of our government in the world. Perhaps, Ukraine can afford it, but Russia cannot.
Q: It's about Ukraine again. The appointment of Timoshenko as the prime minister and the distribution of ministerial portfolios. What are the consequences? And what will be the future relationship with such a cabinet of ministers?
Pavlovsky: We will build a relationship with the premier that will be legitimately confirmed by the Ukrainian Rada. In Ukraine there have been various premiers. I think they had a premier by the name of Lazarenko, and we tried to do business with him, too. If you are referring to the case pending before the prosecutor's office, direct that question to the prosecutor's office. I don't think it calls for any settlement at the political level.
Q: Kazakhstan information agency. What is your forecast on the eve of the presidential election in Kazakhstan in 2006? And how do you assess the potential of the opposition in Kazakhstan?
Pavlovsky: The recent elections in Kazakhstan as far as I know, do not fully satisfy the president of Kazakhstan who intends to go ahead with a new round of reforms, which Russia can only welcome because Kazakhstan is looking for its own model of democracy. That is very important. Kazakhstan treats its opposition in a civil way. The authorities interact with the opposition and the opposition is represented inside Kazakhstan, as I have observed on many occasions. So, the potential of the opposition really depends on its ability to share the political responsibility with Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev's record is so impressive that I think it is impossible in the future to build any policy, including for the opposition to build any programs that would ignore all these achievements. Herein lies the problem of the opposition in Kazakhstan. It has nothing real to offer to the present administration in Kazakhstan. But it is even more of a problem in Russia. So, I wouldn't say that the opposition in Kazakhstan is in poorer state than in Russia. Rather, the reverse is true.
Q: You said in an interview with a German newspaper that if Yushchenko follows the path of Saakashvili that would be a fateful step, it would lead him into a dead end. Can you explain what Saakashvili's impasse consists in?
Pavlovsky: The current events throw this in such bold relief -- I mean in Georgia -- that I wouldn't even bother to comment on it, it's obvious as it is. Georgia has not become predictable and has not become stable and the real course of the Georgian administration is not known, with the exception of Mr. Saakashvili. As we see, it is dangerous to copy others' examples. And I wouldn't wish Mrs. Timoshenko to find herself in the position of Mr. Zhvania.
The problem is that the political process in Georgia is becoming more and more opaque. The intentions are not clear, the real intentions and the real policy cannot be discerned behind high- sounding declarations. The opposition says that the real policy differs from declared policy and we have no reason to disbelieve it.
Q: Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Aren't you afraid that your interference in the elections in Kirghizia and Moldova would precipitate a Ukrainian-style revolution?
Pavlovsky? My interference?
Q: Well, Russia's interference, the interference of its political spin doctors.
Pavlovsky: First of all, I never told you that I am in any way involved in these elections. Second, technology, advisers, advertising specialists in election technology, they do not place an independent political role, it's an illusion. For some reason it is widespread in Russia. There is a habit of mythologizing any position in Russia. From time to time there appear horrible demons like oligarchs and spin doctors, and there were the red-brown or communo- fascists in the past. And then it turns out that nothing of this exists. So we must not use stereotypes in politics. Those whom you call spin doctors play no independent political role either in the Russian or foreign policy.
Q: What about the Russian interference?
Pavlovsky: On whose side should Russia interfere in Moldova? On the side of Mr. Voronin who systematically sabotages not only our efforts to resolve the conflict but also the position of his own population, about 60 percent of which favors good relations with Russia? Who should we support? If such a task were set, we could in principle help overthrow Mr. Voronin, and we could in this case enter to relations with all those who are preparing a revolution in Moldova. As far as I know, there are at least two such groups there. But this is a totally different type of policy. It's not the policy of a country that persistently works towards its goal of becoming a world power. We cannot afford that.
Q: There is a broad discussion in Lithuania on whether President Valdas Adamkus should go to the May 9 celebrations in Moscow or not. It is known that many people in Lithuania regard the victory in 1945 not only as the liberation from the Nazi but also as the return of Soviet occupation. This is why they do not support the president and advise him not to go. If the president decides not to go, will this affect relations between our countries?
And another question, if I may. You said the Baltic countries remain in the zone of Russia's interests. What means will Russia use to protect its interests?
Pavlovsky: You know that there is a principle in politics, and I think it is known to those who deal with politics: it is always a local matter. In other words, the discussion in the Baltic countries is not our discussion. Frankly speaking, we do not even quite understand it. Moreover, we strongly dislike some of the formulas in this discussion. Indeed, we do not remind the Baltic countries that Russia imposed, I think we can say that, independence upon the Baltic countries in the 1920s despite the resistance from the Entente leadership. Red Russia objected several times and even sent indignant notes in reply to the Entente leadership that refused to recognize the independence of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania de facto and de jure. So we can say that it's the heritage of the Bolsheviks in the independent Baltic countries.
The propensity to turn political discussions into historical ones is a bad way. It is absolutely unacceptable to break the anti- fascist consensus on issues that are to Europe's disliking. Europe does not want to discuss whether it was good or bad that the anti- fascist coalition destroyed the Hitler coalition. Let me remind you that Hitler's Germany was also a coalition that involved, including on a voluntary basis, many local armed groups, in the Baltic countries as well. Europe will not revise this issue. Russia will not revise this issue, and America will not revise this issue. If Madame Vike wants to revise this issue, it's now our problem.
Q: What are the reasons for nominating Yushchenko and Saakashvili for the Nobel Prize? There have been such reports?
Pavlovsky: I did not do it.
Q: I mean what might have been the reasons in your view for nominating them? And one more. How will relations between Georgia and Russia evolve in the future?
Pavlovsky: I think these are purely political reasons. They will become purely political initiatives. On those rare occasions when the Nobel Prize Committee did such things, it usually faced a situation that it regretted for a long time afterwards. I can remind you of Kissinger, Pham Van Dong and others, or Mr. Arafat, who always caused a lot of controversy and debates, which degraded the supra-party nature of the Nobel Prize. I think that giving the prize to politicians, especially incumbent ones, who may do God knows what in the future is to compromise them. I can understand it when the Nobel Prize is given to the prisoners of conscience in order to support and protect them. There is a practical and a moral aspect to this. But what can threaten a politician, except his own mistakes,
So I think that Mr. Saakashvili will eventually quarrel with Mr. Yushchenko, and one of them will have to give up the Nobel Prize, as some other awarded pairs have done many times in the past. And I don't think they should embark on this path. But I repeat, Mr. Saakashvili has not has used up his potential, and this is why we would like him to keep the promises he made a year ago at the dawn of the revolution.
Q: Speaking of Moldova you said there are two groups that would like to overthrow Voronin. Could you name them please?
Pavlovsky: No, not to overthrow Voronin. I did not say they were preparing an overthrow. You see the very notion of revolution has acquired a somewhat carnival in our countries lately. In other words, a revolution is an acute form of election. I call it a transition from elections to total elections, that is elections for which a gigantic nation-wide and usually controlled crisis show is staged.
I think no one can prevent a situation where not one but two circuses come to the capital of a country where an election is held, and each of them will stage its own show. Mr. Yanukovich's problem was that he was not ready to respond with his own show. But I think he will learn his lesson and be better prepared in the future.
Q: What outcome of the election in Moldova will benefit Russia? And, based on the possible outcome, how could the Transdniestria problem be resolved?
Pavlovsky: I think the priority should be on the resolution of the Transdniestrian problem because it's a frozen conflict, and we need the Black Sea, and the Black Sea needs an evenly high level of security. At present there is not enough security in at least two regions. So, we would like to see the elections draw into the process of political decision-making the range of forces that will command fairly broad support in order to take the necessary decision. Personally Mr. Voronin probably does not have enough support to take these decisions. So, we would like to see a broad representative coalition and a president solidly relying on a political force that represents the whole spectrum, in particular, the position of the population regarding the development of relations with Russia. We are aware of this position, but it is not, unfortunately, represented in the activities of Moldova's leadership.
Q: Did I understand you correctly that in your introductory remarks today you have formulated something like a "Pavlovsky doctrine" and that from now on Russia will deal with non- governmental organizations and not only with the official government?
Pavlovsky: Why do you call it a doctrine? These are just common sense rules and the blame for the shortage of common sense unfortunately is shared by our opposition and our non-governmental organizations. What I am saying is that in Russian society, including its liberal part, there is a profound underestimation, and I would say lack of respect for our neighbors. I would say more: the Russian administration is more sensitive and more considerate of the situation in the neighboring countries than our opposition. Our opposition usually views neighboring countries as a testing ground for their ideas which are often far removed from reality.
Of course, it is useful to interact with non-governmental organizations, but I stress, with the democratic part of the spectrum and not with extremists and nationalists, of course. So, I would like to say that this is not a doctrine.
Q: (Inaudible). ..."We shall work with government in order to solve the problem of government".
Pavlovsky: That's right. These people can be told in the same strong terms that our non-governmental organizations will work with non-governmental organizations to solve the problems of interaction between societies in the two countries. Why behind the backs? We will do it openly. One example is the diasporas. I think our authorities were pleasantly surprised when they discovered the existence of a Ukrainian diaspora as an organized force which is politically not a heterogeneous spectrum. And why can't the Ukrainian community interact with Ukrainian society and Ukrainian political organizations? Very interesting relations are developing. But why do you say that they are developing behind the back?
Q: In late February Putin will meet with President Bush. What will be the tone of that meeting and what problems will dominate the discussions?
Pavlovsky: The agenda is actually known. It's all in the press. But the agenda is being finalized and changes may be introduced right up to the very meeting. But I personally think that an important outcome that could emerge from that meeting would be the understanding between the presidents, in particular, on the part of President Bush that Russia, like America, has its own values and that its policy is based on a certain scale of values. America may not like it, just like we often do not like America's actions based on their values. But values should be respected. We will seek, it is our duty to seek an understanding of our values and not only interests, and we expect that these values will be understood and recognized by the other side.
There exists currently the concept of "acceding to values". In other words, if you want to interact with America you should come to share its values. But I think this is a police concept of the world order. It is unrealistic. Russia will seek to ensure that its policy is understood, but it will, of course, be ready to listen to the complaints of the other side in order to answer these complaints. Unfortunately, the world press is not very helpful in this.
Q: What is your attitude to the concept of a liberal empire? And considering that you have worked in Ukraine with different camps, is the joint project of the Effective Policy Fund possible to implement on the whole post-Soviet space?
Pavlovsky: Who is the liberal emperor and how do I contact him? Can you give me his telephone number. I just don't happen to know it. It would be very interesting. I do not know of any such force at present or any such concept. As for high-sounding phrases, this is not politics and they tend to arouse serious suspicions among friends and neighbors.
I must say that Mr. Chubais and the Union of Right Forces have contributed to Ukraine's suspicions regarding Russia's intentions. At the height of the small and practically piddling conflict over Tuzla, he launched a claim to creating some kind of liberal empire.
The theme of empire is very important, but it has nothing to do with the Union of Right Forces and the post-Soviet space.
Q: Regarding the "frozen" conflicts in the post-Soviet space. The three leaders of troubled republics gathered in Moscow last week. Was it an accident? And what was their aim in coming to Moscow?
Pavlovsky: I don't understand the meaning of the word "accident" in politics. In politics people act with certain intent, if they gather together, they must have a motive. We cannot prevent people, we cannot prevent Boris Abramovich Berezovsky, for example, from coming to Kiev. Why should we prevent other politicians from coming to Moscow? We wouldn't object to Boris Abramovich coming to Moscow and to Mrs. Timoshenko coming to Moscow.
The problem is not who went where, the problem is whether there is progress in resolving conflicts. I think we have entered a stage where decision cannot wait. Russia and the other former Soviet Union countries must see a resolution of these conflicts, but not the reopening of these conflicts because a reopening would simply lead to military actions. I don't think anyone who lives in Eastern Europe would welcome such a prospect.
Moderator: Thank you for taking a record number of questions. And thank you, colleagues, for your cooperation. The press conference is over.