Pronko: It is 19:06 in the Russian capital. I am Yury Pronko.
You are listening to the Finam FM, The Real Time. Good evening,
ladies and gentlemen. I would like to congratulate all of
us – myself and all of you, dear listeners, - with the two
year anniversary of our programme. Two years has flied by,
but we are still at the radiofrequency 99.6 band. But as I
am a very economical person, as well as thrifty and cynical,
then let us directly pass to the theme of our today's programme.
"Modernisation is impossible without policy changes,"
"Business should actively participate in the discussion
of modernisation of the country", "All the discussions
of how to conduct modernisation are pure fantasies".
These are only some of the remarks from my today’s interlocutors
at maybe already the most hackneyed topic in our country.
Of course, we’ll speak about modernisation. We have somehow
always concentrate on either Skolkovo or the Silicon Valley,
somehow we have been always trying to snitch the name ‘Silicon
Valley” from the Americans, or we start speaking about Anatoly
Chubais – looks like that we have only these two options when
discussing modernisation. If we speak about innovation and
modernisation, we always focus on Skolkovo and Chubais and
his Rosnano corporation. But it seems to me, that the topic
is in fact more serious, and we shall discuss it in The Real
Time with Grigory Yavlinsky, Co-Chairman of the Board "ZaModernizatsiyu.Ru",
the first Chair of the YABLOKO party. Grigory Alexeyevich,
Yavlinsky: Good evening.
Pronko: And Boris Titov, Co-Chairman of The Right Cause party
and the leader of the Business Russia movement. Boris Yuriyevich,
Titov: Good evening and happy birthday.
Pronko: Thank you, thank you. The number of our multi-channel
phone is 730-73-70, and finam.fm is our web site. Dear listeners,
you can use all these means of communication and ask your
questions or express your views and concerns. Now let me formulate
the topic of the programme: "Enforcing structural changes.
Is such modernisation possible in Russia?" Please express
your opinion, our phone and website are at your disposal.
Boris Yuriyevich, tell me please, what all of this is all
about and why? I do not mean here why the President said that
we should conduct modernisation and restructure Russia’s economy,
but I am interested why you are in this, what for? All are
discussing this day and night.
Titov: Why do we need this? But we are business. I am first
of all a businessman, I represent Business Russia - that business
which is engaged in the raw [exports], which lost in the crisis
more than any other sector... The manufacturing sector has
lost almost 3% of our total GDP last year. That is why we
understand that without modernisation of the economy, without
changing its structure - from raw material dependence to a
diversified economy - there is no future for us. And economic
modernisation should not be reduced to... Of course, innovation
is also a very important process, we said as early as in 2004,
that we needed a project such as the Silicon Valley or something
like Bangalore, we wrote about this in Business Russia’s report.
So, this is very important, and we agree with this. But in
addition to all of this, in additions to innovative technologies,
we need basic technologies. Today our country seems to transfer
to the pre-industrial status, to say nothing of the post-industrial
stage. We are not even an industrial country. Therefore, today
we need basic technologies, we should import them and adapt
them, we should learn to grow bread in a new way and produce
canned food, and, naturally, manufacture machinery products
of a completely different quality level. Therefore, in this
broad sense, we understand modernisation but how to conduct
it we do not know yet, we do not have any strategy here yet.
But we realise that we need modernisation, our country leaders
also realise very well – at least, in all the statements and
their rhetoric – that this is needed. But yet we have not
seen any narrow proposals, there has been no system view.
Pronko: Perhaps the reason is different?
Titov: That's why we gathered so that to think how to develop
it, we wanted to join together the best economic minds in
order to understand what measures the system approach should
envisage. We are now opening a web-site, it is not even a
web-site, it is a portal, an Internet resource, where people
will be able to discuss and then propose [the solutions],
and do many things via this web-site, it will be a social
network for information management. So, we have identified
22 key problems, the main vectors of modernisation, which
we should follow: from change of accounting to the new policy
in the field of mining and raw exports, to Russia’s position
in the world. So, streamlining all of this as of different
directions, we shall launch a discussion on every direction,
and we shall determine what to do to make the country different.
Pronko: Grigory Alexeyevich, perhaps it is not the time yet?
Boris Titov has been saying that we can not live like this
any more. Probably we can. Market prices on raw materials,
the key Russia’s exports are more than comfortable, the situation
is not bad. Maybe that's why there have been words only and
no definite solutions?
Yavlinsky: Well, it’s correct. You can live like this, and
live like this for a long time. Or not so long, it depends.
Approximately 25% of the population of our country are satisfied
with the situation, and will be satisfied. The economic system
created in the country is a stable system, a self-reproducing
system with its social support, and it should be noted, with
a strong public support, the key feature of this system which
is that people who live in this system and use it do not wish
to part with it, because this would worsen their situation
very rapidly. [Our] people are mostly well-educated, intelligent,
they understand that such a system will not last long in a
strategic sense, but to part with it at present, today would
mean worsening of their situation today and tomorrow. Therefore,
they do not want this. The system has shown for the past ten
years, that if the situation on the world markets is more
or less favourable, than the system will be functioning and
provide good growth rates. And even when crises occur in the
world, this system, in spite of the fact that it is peripheral
for the world economy, but in general [it functions]...
Pronko: So one can survive in it.
Yavlinsky: You can survive. But 75% of people do not have
any prospects under this system. Absolutely no prospects.
Neither from the point of view of skilled labour, nor in terms
of education or quality of life, or anything else. This system
does not offer anything. Secondly, the system creates a very
peculiar middle class, which different developed countries
do not have. Even in the Soviet Union, which was considered
a developed country, however, it fell under the second category
of such countries, what people could belong to the middle
class? They were teachers, doctors, engineers, military officers,
as you all well know. And in the West this category of people
also includes entrepreneurs, businessmen and employees of
the financial sector. And we at present have a very different
middle class, here the middle class includes all who provide
services in the field of redistribution of income from the
Pronko: [The are] bureaucrats.
Yavlinsky: Bureaucrats, employees of restaurants and casinos.
Well, as one of my very talented friends says, “restaurant,
taxi and girls makes the formula of the middle class”.
Pronko: In the present Russia.
Yavlinsky: In the present Russia. This is already a different
Russia. Different in a sense that it is an entirely different
country compared with what we normally thought it was. This
is the second argument. Now here comes the third consideration:
I think that such an economic system will not have enough
capacity so that to keep our eastern territories.
Pronko: So, does it mean that you even question the integrity
of the country?
Yavlinsky: Yes, I question the ability to protect our sovereignty
beyond the Urals, at the Far East and in Siberia, because,
as we have already discussed, this economic system can function,
but it has not enough power. And have the longest borders
with the most unstable regions of the world, with absolutely
unpredictable regions from the point of view what may happen,
and what changes may take place there. Or we can put it like
this: if changes do take place there, how they can affect
us? And they are absolutely unpredictable for us. They are
East, the South, and the Caucasus. Now we have a predictable
border with Belarus. Belarus, Ukraine in some sense, and no
one knows what can happen with all other regions. The situation
has radically changed. So the question is how we shall look
at all of this, and what should we do with it - to agree to
that? I think that is wrong.
Pronko: But, nevertheless, you say that – and I just go back
to the first thesis - that 25% of smart, literate and, as
I understand, very influential Russians are well aware that
they do not need any modernisation because it will affect
the basis they are standing on.
Yavlinsky: Not quite. They need it, and they know that it
Pronko: So they think it is needed?
Yavlinsky: When in the evening they are drinking their expensive
whiskey, sitting together and talking – what do you think
they may talk about? They say: "Well, it's impossible!"
And then discuss their affairs, what they were doing all day
long, but it's so impossible. "How far could we move,
how could I have developed my production if I was not afraid
so much! How well I could invest, and all would be different.
Why should I conceal my assets, transfer them to offshores,
loose money on all this and even face the prospects of loosing
my property? Why should I do all this? I'm a citizen of this
country, I live here, this is all mine - why should I act
like this?" Everyone discusses this. But in the morning
they go to work and listen to the Finam radio, which I also
congratulate with a birthday. And they realise that they have
discussed all this and that’s it, here is the real life, and
they have to make decisions, they need to arrange for different
meetings and talk to different people. And if they do not
do this, then their real present life will take a different
PART 3 - to be continued
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