MBK for GW: We will be cleaning up Putin’s mess for decades

August 11, 2010

Mikhail Khodorkovsky spoke to Gazeta Wyborcza, biggest Polish non-tabloid daily. In the interview he discussed the recent plebiscite vote, Dossier Centre’s report on FSB and perspectives fir the future of Russia.

“Putin can no longer leave. He placed himself in this never-ending deadlock. If he had gone as he should have in 2008, after 2 terms, he would have had a great legacy. But he has no clear choice now, because it is clear for everyone to see that if he leaves now, he will be brought to trial, and it might not even be a Russian court.

And at the same time, he knows full well that the country (…) will be in trouble by the time he does eventually go. After 20 years of his rule, not only are we economically uncompetitive and unattractive to the outside, but, to put it mildly, we have hostile relations with all of our neighbours. We will be cleaning up his mess for several decades. But I don’t think he did all this on purpose. He’s just not very strategic. (…)

The post of President of Russia is cursed. It changes people. And there is no mysticism in this. If you want to rise to the top of the pyramid, you have to become a person responsible for everything. Thus, you must take control of everything. And this creates a bureaucratic machine. In essence, the whole country is run by a huge bureaucratic machine, and you become the screw. I have seen for myself wonderful people break down because of this system. Boris Yeltsin was a very democratic leader, believe me, but the system of government broke him. The final decisions he made, for Putin’s rise to power, were done solely to ensure his own personal and family protection. He succeeded in that, but he failed in ensuring the security of the democratic legacy. Neither I, nor Navalny, nor Medvedev, will become a democratic leader in the place created under a dictator. That is why I fundamentally believe that as well as replacing Putin, we replace the system with a parliamentary model.”

You can read the interview in full (in Polish only) here.