The Russian Power is on the Verge of Explosion
It’s the opinion of the famous Russian law-defender Liudmyla Alekseyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, – she told about it in the interview to a RUPOR correspondent during her visit to Kyiv.
RUPOR: Can something like the “orange” revolution happen in Russia?
Alekseyeva: I think it is likely to happen and it will happen if elections’ falsifications are not stopped. It is the matter of time because we are all originating from the same root, not long ago we lived in the same country. We have the same psychology, the same thinking and the fact that it happened in three different countries close to Russia, I mean Abkhazia, Georgia and Ukraine, shows that former citizens of the Soviet Union painfully perceive violation of their universal suffrage from the direction of the power. Citizens of Russia don’t differ from the citizens of Ukraine, Georgia and Abkhazia, they are also indignant at this and I’m speaking of it not from the theoretical point of view. I know it. So far there are no open demonstrations, but two years ago in Ukraine also there were no open demonstrations. I’m sure that people mostly react and are indignant exactly at universal suffrage violation. Probably because to elect power is a mass right. For example, the right to unite, to go out for meeting and demonstrations, to use the right of the freedom of speech – these rights are defended by small groups of people, the most active ones. And the universal suffrage – is the right used by every citizen, even those who doesn’t participate in elections. Because even if they don’t go to elections, they must think first – to go or not to go. This right put some questions before all people and provokes some reaction. The very limitation of this right provokes such mass reactions. Therefore if our power doesn’t learn a lesson from what happened in their closest surroundings, and I fear they won’t learn, then, after all, it will happen in Russia too.
RUPOR: Is it possible in view of the immense size of Mother-Russia?
Alekseyeva: We already have some practical experience, mass reactions and putsch in 1991. Moscow was the first, but demonstrations were also in Petersburg, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg and other cities. After all, everything finished in the people’s victory. In a big country it’s more difficult to protest throughout the whole territory, but it’s not the main point. It was the same during the revolution in 1917. A part of the country learnt about the revolution only in half a year. But it happened and had considerable consequences. The dimensions of the country impede general reacting but don’t exclude such a possibility.
RUPOR: In one of the interviews Serhiy Kovaliov called the Russian people inert regarding the defense of their own rights…
Alekseyeva: It was the same in Ukraine up to the recent events. I remember in the 80-ies I had a talk with two TV-men about the Polish “Solidarity” and I asked them: “How did they manage to create such a big organization and so on”. I remember their answer very well. They said that if they had been told that it would happen so a week ago, they wouldn’t have believed. Just reactions of this kind are unpredictable and invisible even for people close to law-defending activity. But then suddenly everything comes to the surface. It was abruptly in Georgia, the same it was abruptly in Ukraine. Therefore the fact that our citizens look inert now doesn’t at all persuades me it’s impossible. We went further from those democratic achievements that we received after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This exactly caused possibility of such events in Georgia, Abkhazia and Ukraine. In all these countries the scenario was the same: two contenders were presented, one of them wasn’t supported by the power and was attractive to people. During our elections in Russia we didn’t have such a collision. Putin didn’t have a worthy competitor. In Russia this field is very thoroughly weeded out, ant it’s more difficult for us in this sense. And the conviction that elections are falsified and falsified by the power – it’s an absolutely mass conviction. Not only sophisticated citizens suppose so, but any grandma from a village knows the same. It is known and evident to all, because they have been acting since long ago, being impudent and meddlesome. That’s why people possess this perception. Regarding the way it will come out – probably differently. Probably, it won’t be mass demonstrations, but mass displeasure and mass perception.
In addition, our authority is in a more dangerous situation than Kuchma in Ukraine. Your ruling clique was also divided in two parts; in addition the big business is on the side of authority, though middle and small ones – on the side of society. In Russia even our big business, especially after the “YUKOS” case, is extremely dissatisfied with authority. There is no one person frankly supporting Putin. Everything stands on fear only. Putin is only supported by his appointees from Petersburg whom he dispenses money and power. In this sense the situation in Russia is more highly explosive than in Ukraine.
Our judicial and legislative powers are not less dissatisfied with the executive power. The Supreme Court was brave enough to make such a decision, in spite of the fact that judges had to hide, avoid going home. In Russia the same story is possible. Because recently when there was a convention of judges Putin took floor, it was broadcast on TV. It was a shame! He openly offered including a power representative to the Collegium of judges and then added the judges’ salary will be increased in two-three times, and after a time – in two-three more times. But even after this during the convention of judges all voted against including a power representative to the Collegium of judges, though the voting was open. The absolute majority voted against!
Not only judges are dissatisfied with the executive power, but the legislature either. Even the “United Russia” party has no power. They, having become deputies, feel humiliated, because they’re told what to do. That’s why not only our people are dissatisfied, all our society is dissatisfied. And, by the way, the army is also dissatisfied, except for generals. Certainly, we have totally rotten forces that will support the power; these are militia, prosecution and the Federal Service of Safety. They’ll be on the side of the power. That’s why I don’t speak of a revolution when all rebel. I’m not a supporter of open protests myself. It’s good that everything finished peacefully in Ukraine. But it could finish in another way. These guys were standing all armored, girls were pushing flowers in their shields, but no one knew what to expect of them. And I don’t know, maybe there won’t be open protests in Russia, but something will definitely take place, because when the majority is dissatisfied and only a small group is satisfied – it’s possible only in Turkmenistan, not in Russia.
The intelligentsia, science are dissatisfied, well, everyone! Because everyone is pressed and they realize they are pressed. And there atop they feel nervous, they fear, not accidentally they want to appoint governors. They think if they appoint them they will obey them? Maybe, but will they be satisfied? He’s a governor, and he’s like a greenhorn told from above what to do. It’s unlikely that he’ll like it, even if he’s appointed by president.
RUPOR: How could you comment on the lawmaking work in Russia by the example of the anti-terror law that is about to be passed in the Duma?
Alekseyeva: It’s an idiotic law that most likely won’t be passed and I think that there is a game in it thought over in advance. The Duma offers deliberately quite an idiotic law, and the president says: “That won’t do! No way!” Then the law is passed not in the very horrible version, but in simply horrible. And the president looks fine, for he removed the most odious points. Certainly, it will be passed in principle, and similarly to all laws recently passed in Russia it is directed to limitation of citizens’ rights, to a greater or lesser extent. In Russia other laws are just not passed.
It’s all the matter of time!
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