Nemtsov: Putin is afraid to repeat the fate of Tymoshenko
One of the harshest critics of Putin came to Prague for the 2000 Forum conference. Boris Nemtsov, former Deputy Prime Minister under President Boris Yeltsin.
Nemtsov calls for a boycott of the Russian elections and accuses Putin of putting his own interests and those of his surroundings above those of Russia.
At opposition rallies, an 53-year-old native of Sochi has already been arrested several times, he recently participated in the creation of the opposition anti-Kremlin “Party of People’s Freedom”.
In 2009, Nemtsov nominated his candidacy for mayor of Sochi, but he did not have access to television and other media. As a result, he was second, with a large margin from the candidate of the Kremlin.
Five years earlier, Nemtsov became an important figure in the Ukrainian Orange Revolution as an adviser to Viktor Yushchenko. In this function, he remained in the first phase of the presidential term of Yushchenko.
Nemtsov in Prague gave a short interview to Aktuálně.cz.
Aktuálně.cz: On Tuesday, a Kiev court sentenced former prime minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison. You personally know her well, in Ukraine you worked as an advisor to President Viktor Yushchenko. What does this lawsuit mean to you?
Boris Nemtsov: This is very sad news. And, unfortunately, a coup for Ukraine. It seems that Yanukovych is trying to conduct some kind of Putinization of Ukraine. I am not a supporter of Tymoshenko, in the past I have criticized her a lot. But I personally know her very well on the “orange” revolution.
On 100, I’m sure that this is a politically motivated and politically motivated process. She did not go to prison because of corruption or bribes. She is there because of the contract that she signed with Putin. Why didn't the court question Putin as a witness? On the contract two signatures. The author of one goes to jail, the author of the second is going to the Kremlin as president of Russia. At the same time, it is unclear what the role of Putin was at the conclusion of the contract.
I understand why Yanukovych brought a trial of Tymoshenko. He, like Putin, wants to get rid of political competition. Next year there will be parliamentary elections, and Yanukovych’s popularity is falling. And Tymoshenko is still the most popular opposition politician.
What will happen now depends on the activity of the Ukrainian opposition and their representatives. Will there be pressure on Yanukovych, will there be rallies, and so on. If the protests are not strong, Yanukovych will take it as a signal to continue the course.
- And how should Europe react?
- Yanukovych is very dependent on Europe. Not only because Ukraine is a transit country between the west of Europe and Russia. It is not in its interests to worsen or significantly limit relations with Europe. In this case, the West will answer the key.
If realpolitik comes forward, and the answer will be moderate, say diplomatic, for Yanukovych and his people, this will mean that their strategy is correct and justifies itself.
- The process, of course, criticizes Moscow ...
- Yes, I find it pretty funny. Do you know why Putin is so clearly and strongly opposed to the process? Not because of democracy or human rights, but because of the fact that the prime minister can go to jail. He is also the chairman of the government. Ukraine, therefore, from his point of view, can be a bad example for Russia.
In addition, he fears that all contracts involving the Russian gas company Gazprom, due to what is happening with Tymoshenko, may be in doubt. And Gazprom’s business is Putin’s business.
“Do you think that under the leadership of Yanukovich Ukraine becomes an authoritarian state again?”
First I must say that Yanukovych is not a clever politician and man. He has a limited education and a strange past, twice he was in prison (in his youth for theft and attack - ed.). He would definitely like to be a strong leader, like Putin. Without political competition and until the end of life.
But Ukrainian society is different from Russian. They are not very similar, although many in the world think so. Ukrainians, that is, people from the western and central parts of the country, have no imperial mentality at all. On the contrary, they rather considered themselves a colonized nation. They hated Stalin and Stalinism. They have no need to have at the head of a state, say, a strong king. They never had a king who would sit in Kiev.
Yanukovych definitely would like to be like Putin in style and management, but if the opposition in Ukraine remains strong and active, he will hardly succeed.
- And again about Putin. Do you think that he will be president until the maximum term for which the constitution now allows him to remain president? That is, before the 2024 year?
- Putin wants to be president for life. I thought he was smarter, knowing how many years later dictators ended up in power. Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya. How now Lukashenko has swayed in Belarus ...
But Putin is afraid for his freedom, for his business, for his power. He also protects the business interests of his friends and those around him. Their business is very successful thanks to the state. This is a typical example of corrupt capitalism based on connections.
Putin is certainly afraid that if he leaves politics, he can lose anything, an investigation may begin. The case of Tymoshenko for him a warning.
- Do you see any positive moments of Dmitry Medvedev's presidential term, is his term coming to an end?
- You can not talk about the term Medvedev, he was not the one for whom was the final word. It was Putin. Medvedev can be commended for throwing out some extremely corrupt politicians. For example, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov or leaders of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.
But the negative points prevail. The new Constitution, which extends the presidential mandate to six years, is a disaster for Russian democracy. The attempt to attach Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Russia, like the war with Georgia, had no meaning. Russia has nothing of this.
It is also contrary to common sense to continue to lease the base in the Ukrainian Sevastopol for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. This is discarded money, this fleet of Russia is useless.
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