By Tatyana Nikulenko
The Doctor of Economics Gavriil Popov introduced the term "command and economic system", inculcated free pass in public transport for pensioners (he was the first to sign the decree in June 1991 after he was elected to be the Mayor of Moscow). Life provided to the scientist who edited the Economy Questions magazine, the unique chance to put theoretical researches into practice. Unfortunately, Moscow under his management did not become the leader in carrying out reforms. In a year the town governor voluntary retired. Many years later he explained his decision: he succeeded in discharging the most serious danger for the country — the communistic management, but he completely failed in fighting for more or less normal way of reforms.
Today Gavriil Popov is the president of the International university of Moscow created due to the initiative of two presidents – Bush Sr. and Gorbachev: this Russia's first non-state educational institution was placed in the buildings that were once belonging to the Central Committee of CPSU. The new entrepreneurial elite which the university prepares for economy, sprouts from ashes of the Communist Party... The colleagues economists that are familiar with Popov's works consider him to be the eternal revolutionary, and the scientist calls himself "thinker".
– Gavriil Haritonovich, you have Mariupol Greek origin, besides English and German you speak also Ukrainian. Do you follow Ukrainian news on television or on the Internet?
– I do not neglect any source. Well, also I communicate with relatives and friends.
– It means you are aware of the demolishing of monuments in many Ukrainian cities. You know that the example was shown by Moscow at the beginning of the 90th when you became its first democratically elected mayor …
– Yes, the foundation to the monument falls started during my reign though I tried to resist it. A group of deputies was dragging the bust of Lenin and hiding it to the storerooms every night at Moscow Council. The other part of deputies was running in search of the bust and returning it to the initial place. It was continuing for some months. The same was happening on the Moscow streets. It is an indicator of unpreparedness of some social groups to the confirmation of something constructive. They wanted to see immediate result that's why the dumped monuments.
– Nevertheless, you are said to be present during the bronze Dzerzhinsky's demolition …
– I was against it. Anyway I decided to be there to watch it not to ruin the subway arches. Now the process went backwards: someone wants to return iron Felix to a former place. I certainly do not support any "reconstructions", but at the same time I promote the idea to leave monuments on their places. The monument has to stand and remind us of our past for us to think how to live and work in proper way and not to repeat mistakes of our fathers.
– You spoke with sympathy about Chinese hongweibings (Red Guards in China). You said that if they hadn't demolished the Chinese bureaucracy on two thirds, China wouldn't have shown such economic progress today. Don't you think our "The right sector" remind them?
– Well, you know, hongweibings demolished not monuments, but the Chinese party and state apparatus …
– Ours also passed to the next stage – so-called "garbage lustration" …
–You put your officials into trash cans, but in China they were brought down to their all fours and were forced to repent. It is initially clear that such forms of fight will not be effective. Only the former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili succeeded with such forms of fight, but only in police department. What is more, Americans significantly helped him with money. They didn't use trash cans; they just changed the salary so that became unprofitable and dangerous to take a bribe.
That is why I am sure we need to fight corruption both in Ukraine, and in the European Union, and even around the world: the bureaucracy is now at its prime … But we should use other means. There is a great movement "5 stars" in Italy, also the movement "Seize the Wall Street" in America. They are antiglobalists who created and loudly declared their position. For example, members of "Seize the Wall Street" promote the idea to live in the commodity-money relations, but without the financial capital, that means we have to liquidate banks. I completely agree with them. Our banking financial capital has to be destroyed. For the thousand years the mankind existed without any banks, stocks or broker's boards. It is possible to find the corresponding forms even now.
– In March 2009 you declared that Russians need to change the ruling team. Does Russia and the world pay off today for not listening to your calling?
– First of all, I blame myself in such cases. It means I didn't explain in the right convincing way. Secondly, I tend to take the objective point, not the subjective one. Hegel perfectly formulated it: "Prussians have the government they deserve". They did not listen and they got what they deserved … As well as Ukrainians, and the whole world.
– In the current armed opposition in the southeast of Ukraine someone sees the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, someone - the fight of global players of the USA and Russia, and someone – the fight of oligarchic clans for repartition of property. What do you think?
– My point of view differs from other opinions, that is why I will not explain it. I will just state basic ides.
I think that Ukraine sadly appeared to be on the most hot spot in the most various crises. If to imagine crises in the type of circles, Ukraine is at the point they are imposed at each other.
– Mathematicians call it "set intersection" …
–So, the first crisis – global one. It is caused by a failure of that model which the USA has offered the world after the end of "cold war". The United States considered they won it (they actually did not), and decided to set the unipolar world in the way they wanted.
– This thesis is stated nowadays by all Russian economists who, unlike you, are said to be "speakers" of the Kremlin …
– But I consider those who try to oppose the model of the unipolar world of the USA to multipolar model to be wrong. They return us into a zone of conflicts, collisions of interests, oppositions. Not the idea to create uniform system of a world order on the planet collapses. It will come inevitably. The mankind cannot resolve a set of problems: nuclear, climatic, World Ocean, Arctic and Antarctic, development of the Moon and space without uniform system… In my opinion, globalization is a world tendency, and it is necessary …
– So you still support the idea of only one world center? The transfer of the main natural riches, control of the nuclear weapon and energy resources of the planet to it?
– Yes. Not the general idea of a uniform world order collapsed, only the American model did. Not even American, but the model defined by particular circles of the USA (not the best ones): raw monopolies and provincial groups... . Those best minds that were in America (Stenfords and Harvards) stood aside. Therefore I consider that it is necessary to look for the decision now – the world needs the new model of association.
– Why Ukraine appeared to be the victim?
– The matter is that according to the existing model of the USA they have to provide themselves with energy completely. Dependence on supply of oil and gas is unacceptable for the country which wants to rule the world. Americans found the solution by production of slate gas and oil, they made big technological breakthrough. But the price of the received energy resources was high.
To force the world to buy state gas and oil they should have deprived Europe of cheaper sources. This is the cause of crises in the Middle East – they want to take it under control to dictate the price. Besides they need to cut off Europe from deliveries from Russia. I think that all escalations in Ukraine are connected with this task.
– It is possible to try to discuss the new price of oil and gas...
– But it is difficult and the result is not guaranteed at all. Generally, Ukraine appeared for them the cheapest version of the solution of a task. Kiev has to cut channels of supply of the Russian energy resources to force Europe to buy the American energy resources.
– So what is the interest of the European Union which has supported "revolution of dignity" in Ukraine?
– I described only one circle of problems. The second one concerns the European crisis. In my opinion, the problem lies in fact that Europe repeats in the logical, normal, progressive movement to integration a mistake which was made by the Soviet Union. It forced united federal republics and tried to create multinational system. The USSR promised all republics the rise and prosperity, but the task was excessive for socialist system.
The European Union rolls in problems today, revolts start. The most important is that Europe is not able to lift economy of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Russia in the long term. As I counted it is necessary to worsen the financial position of West Europeans for 40 percent. They won't do that for sure.
The main point is: once Moscow imagined that it was able to lift Central Asia to socialism, so today the part of Western Europe thinks that is capable to lift Eastern Europe to their level. Thus at the very beginning they almost gave up thought to lift Russia or at least Turkey to the European level...
– … and offended both countries.
– I think, it is a huge mistake. Europeans will not cope with the assumed task and it will provoke crisis. It began already. I consider Ukraine the most indigestible piece for the European Union. They also won't cope with Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania. Europe has no forces for such ambitious plan. There is no place for Russia or for Ukraine in this European future. Not because they want to do something bad, they simply will not have enough resources. The population of Europe will disagree to worsen their state so that we can improve ours.
– Sounds as a sentence...
It seems to me that the future of Ukraine in European Union is possible only if they provide the scheme which includes Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, the Caucasian republics, and Turkey. If it happens, then there will be a prospect and options. We will have chances to settle all the problems. Otherwise, I think, Ukraine will not survive as the uniform state.
Though you demolish Lenin monuments on all squares, Ukraine in the form in which it exists today is a Lenin product. There was no real integration of pieces during 23 years of independence. No matter how people, intellectuals were betrayed to idea of the Ukrainian nation, integration means, first of all, an economic community. If there is no material unity you cannot build anything.
– But it is not the reason to tear Ukraine to pieces …
– If to talk about the internal Ukrainian conflict, I consider that there two absolutely different issues. The first concerns the Crimea. I am initially the Crimean Greek. Greeks when moving to near Azov Sea never heared about Ukraine at all. They entered Russia, discussed questions with it, united on its territory.
I repeat, territorially present Ukraine – Lenin's model. Lenin and Stalin created the republics full of the internal conflicts everywhere: Abkhazia and Adjaria were included to Georgia, Karabakh to Azerbaijan, regions of the Ural Cossacks to Kazakhstan. The same scheme was applied in Ukraine. The mass of pieces were included into it initially to oppose to Kiev, to create an unstable situation. I see at least four different zones in Ukraine: Carpathian, the one that is name "Malorossiya" (Small Russia), then the Central Ukraine and, at last, "Novorossiya" (New Russia). They are absolutely different in character, origin and religious beliefs. The people that studied the Soviet part of history of Ukraine know well that at first there was a republic led by Kharkov, then the capital was transferred to Kiev.
– Many of us believe that Ukraine will be united by fight against separatism, against the Russian invasion …
– I think that these diverse pieces have a prospect to unite, but only within the frames of United Europe. You will not be able to reconcile them within the frames of Ukraine. Cultural, beautiful, educated Czechoslovakia did not cope with the same task. In my opinion, Ukraine has the same story.
– Do you think so-called "DNR" and "LNR" have a future?
– It is the main issue. What some supporters of Novorossiya offer socially and economically? I will note very important point. It seems to me that there is a real, huge opposition between people who make active part of Donbass and present Russian state system. In the Crimea when the question of the future was discussed, there were only two options: the peninsula enters or does not enter Russia. Donetsk leaders as it seems to me, did not want to become part of Russia. Among leaders of "DNR" and "LNR" I noticed people who participated in defense of the White House during shooting attack ordered by Yeltsin in October 1993
– You mean Girkin-Strelkov, Borodaya and Antyufeev who sent groups from Transnistria there …
– The issue is not in surnames. These people cannot support Putin in whom they see the successor of Yeltsin. They do not accept present Russian model. They want to build the new one – the national republic.
I think, the Russian government has to help Russians in Ukraine, but it will not be able to support idea of creation of alternative state model.