For many opposition activists and politicians, Yavlinsky's open and blunt statement came as a surprise, since it is considered unacceptable in a democratic environment to criticize Navalny, who is sitting in prison. However, the Yabloko leader did the same thing as the communist Nina Andreyeva in the late 1980s by publishing an article "I Can't Give Up My Principles".
Judging by the text, one of Yavlinsky's principles is a sober view of events and an assessment of the scale of the protest.
“Fewer people went to protest actions in Moscow in January 2021 than in 2011, 2012 and even 2019.” Yavlinsky states. “100 million views on YouTube were converted to about 200 thousand people across the country and 20-30 thousand in the capital. By today's standards, for "offline" this is a large number. However, this is not even close enough to influence the political situation in the country and even more so to force the authorities to a peaceful meaningful dialogue".
The main real result of this protest activity is an increase in the number of arrested and political prisoners against whom no “public pressure” is being formed and whom no one is going to release. Against this background, another such cycle of street actions is a path to even greater disappointment. Even Navalny's headquarters understood this and said that they would not call people under the batons yet.
But for the Kremlin, the winter demonstrations for Navalny gave an excellent reason to "tighten the screws" and "clean up the clearing" before the Duma elections in the fall.
After the events of January-February 2021, and after the next actions, there will be a very heavy aftertaste: there will be courts and serious repressions. The current government in Russia is outside the law. Therefore, undoubtedly, there will be a "swamp case-2" with the corresponding regulatory administrative and criminal tightening.
According to Yavlinsky, Navalny miscalculated that, given a certain mass and persistence of protests, the government would retreat, because he would not dare to use large-scale and cruel means of suppression. That is, the stake is placed on a certain humanism of the repressive system, well, or on the fact that the Kremlin will be afraid of outside condemnation. In reality, the situation is completely different. For Putin's system, the behavioral guidelines are Yeltsin in 1993 and Deng Xiaoping in 1989 with tanks in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Navalny returned to Russia on purpose, despite an unequivocal warning from the authorities about the arrest. The court's decision on the imprisonment of Navalny is political. But political were also the replacement of the sentence in the Kirovles case with a suspended one in July 2013, and the transfer of signatures to him by the authorities to participate in the elections of the mayor of Moscow, and the disregard of repeated administrative prosecutions and trips abroad as a legal basis to replace the suspended sentence with a real...
Unfortunately, Navalny's investigations did not have and cannot have practical results for society, Yavlinsky believes, and the main socially significant effect that the stylistics of Navalny's "exposing" films is aimed at is inciting primitive social hatred.
Indeed, corruption can be truly defeated only by changing the system. Therefore, the real fight against corruption is not filming the estates of the stealing officials from drones, but a political struggle for a new Russian state, for a new Constitution, for a Constituent Assembly.
Speaking about Navalny's political credo, Grigory Yavlinsky quotes Valeria Novodvorskaya from 2011: “Navalny can become“ the future leader of the maddened crowds, and even with a Nazi bias”. “The fight against corruption, ”said Novodvorskaya“, can lead to what she has already brought in Belarus. Lukashenko seduced the people by talking about the fight against corruption from morning till night. And he easily bought gullible Belarusians. And the thoughtless intelligentsia supported him, deciding that they could turn them around as they wanted. Well, we see today Belarusian landscape... Arrests are not political indulgences. The Bolsheviks were also in hard labor, and Dzerzhinsky was in prison for 10 years. Hitler was also imprisoned. It's a pity that not for 15 years. Maybe there would not have been World War II ... If the crowds follow Navalny , the country is awaiting fascism in the future... The wave that is now rising is rising by no means only against Putin. It is rising for the undemocratic future of Russia. It is rising for the past commune. nism or for future fascism. And Navalny is one of the potential leaders of this new destruction".
Since then, nothing has changed at all, Yavlinsky said. Neither Navalny himself nor his entourage cares about the broken fate of citizens who, at their call, went to unauthorized actions and ended up behind bars (just remember the promises of monetary compensation through the ECHR for detentions). Everyone is invited to the personally oriented anti-Putin coalition: communists, nationalists, leftists, rightists... In general, anyone except those who are for Putin. And these are by no means new political technologies. This already happened in October 1993 at the White House.
At the same time, it is important to understand and remember that Putin's system is much more than one person: it was not Putin who started building it, and it will not disappear by itself.
In addition, one should not overestimate the "wisdom" of the West in supporting certain opposition figures, Yavlinsky said. Due to a systemic misunderstanding of what is happening in different parts of the world, Western politicians make serious mistakes. Suffice it to look at the Western policy of the last decades towards Myanmar: the glorification of Aung San Suu Kyi, the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to her, her return to power in 2016, and then military repression with her connivance, the genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017 and as a result a military coup in January 2021, as a result of which Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned. But now the West is trying not to mention the Myanmar “human rights activist”.
In political circles in Europe and the United States, their understanding of Russia is getting worse and worse. It is important to recall here the murder of Boris Nemtsov in 2015. As a political figure, Nemtsov was much larger than Navalny, but in the West this was considered an internal affair of Russia and there were no journalistic investigations similar to today's...
So what should the fighters for a bright future for Russia do? Yavlinsky proposes, in addition to protecting citizens from repression, "to offer an alternative in everything: in the state structure, economy, domestic and foreign policy." In part, this thesis repeats what Putin constantly repeats about non-systemic opposition, which should come out to society not just with criticism, but with a set of positive decisions.
According to Yavlinsky, "the time has come to form a serious personnel alternative - from professionals who are able to govern the state in a new way, who value freedom and respect people who really love and understand Russia and have nothing to do with nationalism and populism".
To start building a new state, a new Constitution will be required, the convocation of a Constituent Assembly, a deep economic reform to eliminate ineffective state-monopoly capitalism, the introduction of a guaranteed basic income for the country's citizens, the implementation of programs such as "Earth-houses-roads" and “Gas - to every home”. This is a meaningful alternative to Putin's impasse.
What does this mean practically, you ask?
It is necessary that at least 20 million people vote for freedom and self-respect, that is, for Yabloko, in the elections in September this year - as they are (perhaps, by the way, the last). These are those who are not for Putin or for the populist nationalists. Then there will be a basis for a dialogue with the authorities. "Surely this is better and smarter than fighting the riot police." - the leader of Yabloko is sure.
The full version of the article is on the Yavlinsky website.ru.
Of course, Yavlinsky's speech did not go unnoticed among Navalny's supporters. In the most impartial definitions, the activists of the non-systemic opposition accuse the main "Yabloko" of the fact that he never seriously fought for power, being a spoiler of Kremlin candidates.