Berezovsky: Russia’s Future Tied To Ukraine
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Natalia Golytsina, exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky assesses the significance for Russia of Ukraine’s political course.
Berezovsky claims that Russian interference in the current elections is just as widespread, if not more so, than in 2004 -- only now it is more sophisticated. “This time, everything is being done more properly; by this I mean the actions of the Russian special services that have simply flooded Ukraine," he says. "Only this time they’re quieter and not making loud noises like the last time.”
On the importance of Ukraine to Russia and the West, Berezovsky says, “Once again the West has proven its complete impotence and complete failure to understand the importance of what’s going on. I consider it a thousand times more complicated than what’s happening in Iran... because not only will the future of Russia be decided there, so will the future of the values of western civilizations.”
Greater Role For Public Needed To Increase Accountability
Arkady Murashov, former head of the Moscow police during the 1990s, comments on first steps to reform the Interior Ministry. These include abolishing the “stick” system, the method of measuring police performance according to the number of crimes solved.
Murashov says that in other countries, public opinion plays an important role in holding the government accoubtable, but in Russia channels for feedback from the people to the political leadership have been “lost.” Lamenting the Kremlin’s practice of appointing municipal and regional leaders, he says, “As long as the leadership is not elected, as long as a municipal or regional leader knows that nothing depends on public opinion and that the police answer only to him, the police will continue to work as they work now.”
Modernization, Mobility More Important Than Money
Natalya Zubarevich, director of regional programs of the Independent Institute of Social Policy, comments on the effectiveness of several government policies aimed at addressing social issues during the economic crisis:
She says allocating funds to regional administrations to implement public works and thus stem unemployment has been ineffective and is financially unsustainable.
On the subject of Russia’s “mono-towns” -- towns dependent on one factory for employment -- she decries the recent policy of giving money to the owners and managers of loss-making enterprises in such towns.
She says that local infrastructure, electricity, water supplies and transportation access should be modernized, and that the most important immediate step is to ensure the mobility of the local working population so they can seek employment elsewhere.