Nikolai Khramov (dissident, Radical Party), 1991

Interview with Khramov at END meeting, Moscow 1991
Interviewer — Metta Spencer

MS — Why don’t you talk about the military first.

K — I don’t like very much, I’m a little bit afraid of the new ______ in the republics because some of the republics and the Ukraine, they speak about national armies. The main danger would be you could see what happened in Yugoslavia and I’m not a very big fan of the idea of national armies. I’m afraid of these tendencies and generally about national armies because the idea, I agree here with them that we don’t need any national armies at all. We have to construct an all European or a worldwide system of civil based defence not armed defence.

MS — Sounds good to me, I agree with what you are saying.

K — Of course after the Gulf war we can suppose that it will be some dictators who will make some military actions and aggressions and so on. Even if we forgot the fact that who and when gave the arms to Saddam, in a way it may be for the first time for the first steps it will be necessary to have for a time maybe police forces. But which are not national but international, maybe under the command of the UN but not like now when a Finnish battalion is given to the UN but commanders of Finnish officers and so on. It can be the forces which belong exclusively to UN, not to Finland to Poland or somebody else.

MS — How much support was there and in which groups for the Gulf war, here?

K — Sorry.

MS — To what extent did people here support the war?

K — During the Gulf War it was a lot of demonstrations here, but the only demonstations were Fascist demonstrations to support Saddam. ______ society and some communist groups, military _______, so called patriotic forces, because it’s a matter of fact that we have a very strong pro Iraqian ______ here, military industrial complex and so on. And they had possibility to organize a lot of manifestations to support Saddam Hussein.

MS — But that’s what I heard, everybody who was Liberal or radical or who would be in the peace movement, especially people of course supporting the government, all supported the war. Supported Bush’s war. Supported having the UN attack Iraq.

K — I didn’t meet the peak political support here because all the people are for the politicians here, democrats, liberals and so on. They are very involved in internal problems and in fact they were not very interested in the Gulf War. Is it bad or good, but it is a matter of fact. If we are speaking about radical parties, and you know the Italian square there in the Gulf, and it was wanting in the Italian parliament about to send or not to send the Italian troops to the Gulf. And the radicals who are sitting to the, the radical deputies there are 16 and they were divided half and half. 7 people wanted yes to send the Italians to the Gulf and 7 people voted no and 2 people they didn’t vote. It’s very symbolic because the augumentation of parts of the people, I can’t understand both parts because the people who vote no they told that we are a non-violent party and that we don’t support any military action, even against Saddam and so on. They had opposite positions on this question. Another part Marco Pandelo(?) _______, leader of the party, they told that his position is very like this bird who has its head in…

MS — An ostrich.

K — Yes, I don’t know the name but maybe. The intervention of Roberto _______ radical in Italian parliament was that if I was American congressman to begin or not to begin this war, to send or not to send troops, in this case I wouldn’t know. But now if the UN undertake some actions and the question is for Italy to participate or not to participate for the actions of the UN. In this situation it’s very hard for me, but in this situation I have to vote yes. So I can understand this position because this conflict the radicals during 10 or more years they make big activity of selling of Italian arms to Saddam. They made a lot of campaigns against Saddam, against violations of human rights, against collaboration of Western countries with dictatorships in Iraq in Ethiopia and so on. If the war is beginning, in fact not a war but police action against Hussein I can understand how _____ it’s very difficult for me to say because I am a pacifist. But you know even Einstein was a pacifist but you know his position about Hitler and so on. Really for me it’s a difficult question.

MS — It’s difficult for everybody, a lot of people, not for me. I had no ambivilence, I took a middle postion that the US should have sent troops and ships, it was OK for a presence to be there to prevent further invasion if there was a chance that Saudi Arabia would be attacked. Acting as a guard was OK but I didn’t support the war in fact I very heavily supported the peace camps. Not that I had any illusions about what it could do, but it just seemed to me the only thing to do. So anyway this has been very good. So back to your own aspirations, what have you been writing as a journalist?

K — First of all about our issues, what we are doing. Some weeks ago I published an article in New Time Magazine against death penalty and now I am writing a letter, an article for independent newspaper _______ in Moscow about prohibition on drugs and so on. About what will happen here if ruble will be convertible and the narcomafia will be threatened here and so on.

MS — So always it’s for a party issues?

K — It’s about the issues in which I am interested in.

MS — Have you written about things that are not just party issues, that the party has taken a postion on? What have you written?

K — I think it’s possible to tell that I am writing only about these problems — death penalty, civil service, drug prohibition and yes you can say really, I think only now I am writing on party issues.

See also
Nikolai Khramov (Group for Trust), 1992

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