Dear friends,

Before one of my interviews at the Ekho of St.Petersburg [radio station] we decided to conduct an experiment - you were asked to send your questions to YABLOKO’s web-site. We received a lot of questions and I thank you for it.

The main topic of that radio broadcasting was the Governor’s address to the Legislative Assembly of St.Petersburg, and there was virtually no time left to cover other topics. I promised during the broadcasting that I would answer all the topics that interested you. Most of the questions focused on the events in Ukraine.

I wrote about the important, most fundamental issues in my February article in the newspaper Vedomosti. The relevance of what I had said in a large interview to Argumeti Nedeli published at our web-site was has been also confirmed.

The situation in Ukraine has been changing so rapidly that very often comments become obsolete quickly. For example, President Putin’s call to separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk not to hold a referendum, which was enthusiastically greeted by journalists and political analysts, turned out to be merely a political game with an outcome known in advance. I was asked many questions about [Western] sanctions [to Russia] and their impact on the economy of our country and people's lives.

According to my forecast, the impact of the sanctions will be felt in about six months, when the resources accumulated by the Russian economy decrease. Prices will grow faster, inflation will rise, unemployment will grow and military spending will increase.

Our country will face significant problems in the long run, if it does not receive the modern technology and equipment. If sanctions are not removed within two to three years, this will lead to a significant slow down of the scientific and technological development of the country.

In a few years there will emerge sanctions relating to the fall of the Russian budget revenues from the raw materials exports by means of a gradual decline of world energy prices and reduction of the Russian exports. Together with an arms race, slow down of scientific and technological development, depreciation of the rouble, reduction of foreign currency reserves and job cuts this will significantly affect the Russian economy and the lives of citizens.

Many questions related to the question what the West should do so that to Russia would change its policy towards Ukraine. I can not and do not want to give advice to the West. The very wording of the question is very strange and it is rooted in the Soviet past. The Soviet Union was a closed country, and information of the Western countries about the USSR had never been full. Now Russia is an open state with accessible information. Any Western analyst can web serf in the Russian segment of the Internet and get the information there. Another question is that it is not always easy to understand what has been happening in Russia. But in there are enough universities in the West so that to [make a research and] understand everything.

I do not want to think about what the West should do, but I know what we should do. Many of you have asked me about it.

However, we must bear in mind that not everything can be done quickly. Unfortunately, it is difficult to significantly change consciousness of the people and their ideas about politics even within a generation. Recent events have demonstrated that 25 - 30 years are not enough to form a modern view of the objectives and priorities in the country development which could be up to the current international level of knowledge.

Nevertheless, I will give the key directions of the primary changes.

First, it is vitally importnat to finally overcome Bolshevism and Stalinism, to explain what happened to Russia in 1917 and in the following almost one hundred years.

Second, we must fundamentally and very fully deal with the consequences of criminal privatization.

Third, we need to re-establish our state anew. This is a complicated topic and it is difficult for understanding. Its meaning is that we should be the heirs of not just anything but of the best traditions of the Russian state - the great traditions of Russian history, which was interrupted by a criminal coup of 1917 – 1918.

These three steps will launch a new period.

You asked how to deal with propaganda in the mass media, rigged elections and suppression of the dissenting?

Steadiness, tenacity, belief, and maintenance of one’s stance. We should not yield to psychosis, we should remain be honest and wise people who love their country. We should love our country enough to understand what future Russia needs so that it would take its place in the world and its citizens live with dignity and safely. To do this, we should not forget that Russia is a part of the great European civilization. We should never oppose this Russian civilization to the world religions, on the contrary, we should look for footing that would help us to define our future everywhere: in the European civilization and Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

Changes may take place soon, or maybe we have to wait long for them. The more there are people like you, the sooner we will be able to overcome this difficult period. Here is the programme and the mode of action: self-control [in opposing the media propaganda and reprisals] and stubborn adherence to the values and goals.

Unfortunately, I can not reply to everyone, but still three particular issues I would like to touch. Ekaterina Markovich asks about my attitude to the law, which equated bloggers to mass media. Here I will make use of the occasion so that explain what virtually law is. Law in modern society is a normative act representing a compromise between many groups of citizens, it is developed by the Parliament in order to find understanding in the society on the key and most important issues of life. However, in recent years the State Duma has been simply stamping up instructions of the “boss”, rather than adopting laws.

For example, the President said that the Internet had been developed by the CIA, and Yandex was also some pernicious thing. Obviously, bloggers were apparently invented the Mossad, so the State Duma decided to “regulate” them, fortunately they have not gone so far as to imprison all the bloggers. It is impossible to seriously discuss this "law on bloggers".

Now a question from Sergei Peresnicenco: “If the present leadership of the country offers you to take some post in the financial-economic bloc of the Russian Government, would you agree to work there or not, and why?"

The financial and economic bloc of the government is part of the overall state policies. One can work there if only he agrees with the policies conducted by Vladimir Putin. If I do see that there is a struggle against corruption, that for the first time the economic policy is focused on the interests of my electorate - ordinary citizens, for example, resources are spent not on insane paramilitary geopolitical adventures but on such projects as "Land-Houses-Roads”. If I see that my main task will be to increase funding for education and healthcare, then I am ready to discuss joining the government. But this is a different policy than what we have now. Today, there has been no such a policy in the country.

A question from Sergei Spliin: “Will the YABLOKO party establish regional offices in Crimea and Sevastopol”.

YABLOKO has been receiving letters from residents of Sevastopol and Simferopol. This month we will try to meet with the authors of these letters to find out what the situation in Crimea is, and how we can help. We will never give up interacting with people and helping them.

Grigory Yavlinsky