Alexander Kalinin (Russian political parties), 1994

Alexander Kalinin re Russian politics, 1994 (?)
Interviewer — Metta Spencer

Even broad segment of the political range are not always represented in parliament — for example, nationalists, who are now very active and, I am sorry to say, constitute the backbone of the opposition. They have quite negligible representation in parliament, city councils. Moreover, they gained this representation by chance, thanks to the conversion of people who were elected, not as nationalists but as communists or democrats. So the correlation between visibility of the political force — for example, their presence on TV, their street activity — and their presence in elected bodies is very vague and weak. Then it is very difficult to define who is left and who is right, for we have to change the referents for left and right here. For example, for me it is difficult to denote the orthodox communists as the left; they are really reactionary. So in brief, we have about — well, when I say something about political disposition, I say only about Russia, for the situation may be quite different, and if I can safely place nationalists in Russia on the right or extreme right, it is not the case in some ex-Soviet republics.

So I’ll describe this range of political forces from right to left. Nationalists — especially Russian Nationalist Party, the Party of Russian Resurgence, Pamyat (which is not a party, properly but nevertheless). This segment of the range can be ended with Russian Christian Democratic, represented in the Russian parliament by Aksyutch.

The problem is that the democratic groups are broken into a bunch of different factions with a number of different coalitions — Civil Union, Civil Society, and something else. A lot of coalitions — 3 or 4.

MS: The people who constitute the government constitute what, as parties?

A. KALININ: Some of them represent the Democratic Russia movement — some of them— but the majorities are (separate). Gaidar is no party man. __________ is no party man. ______ is no party man.

MS: The Russian parliament is mostly made of right wing elements, is that correct?

A. KALININ: No. Initially there was unstable balance between right wingers and democrats. And now, I think the situation is the same because the right-wingers and communists split internally. The problem is that, despite numerous efforts, there is no centre — no central left, no central right. So the situation is extremely unstable. And many members of parliament simply abstain because they don’t want to support extreme positions. They have no party. They are quite shabby and in a bad mood. They feel that they play a senseless game.

MS: The relationship between the government and the parliament.

A. KALININ: No relationship.

MS: Are they hostile to each other?

A. KALININ: They are hostile because the government doesn’t implement laws passed by parliament. They have their own ideas how to run the country.

MS: So parliament and the government are in opposition, but parliament itslef is too fragmented to do anything? What kind of laws has the government failed to implement?

A. KALININ: For example, privatization laws. It failed to implement these laws. There are many laws on prohibition of monopoly activities of the market. Government failed to implement them.

See also
Alexander Kalinin (Julia's practice interview), 1991
Alexander Kalinin (spiritualism, etc), 1993

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books