08/19/1998 16:46:38 INTERVIEW-Gorbachev slams Yeltsin over devaluation
Пост обновлен 21 авг. 2018 г.
By Timothy Heritage
MOSCOW, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev urged Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Wednesday to
call early elections to restore confidence in the country's
leaders and help resolve a financial crisis.
He told Reuters in an interview that this week's de facto
devaluation of the rouble would deal a colossal blow to the
economy and major strikes were possible if Yeltsin did not call
presidential and parliamentary elections.
"The president must come up with an initiative to halt the
destruction of the economy, of this country. To do this, he must
call elections in the autumn or spring," Gorbachev said.
"If he did this now, it could be his last good deed for his
people. But it is hard to count on him doing this. I don't think
he realises what the situation is."
He said the government and Yeltsin had lost the confidence
of their people and the final straw had been the president
firmly ruling out a devaluation just three days before the
rouble was allowed to devalue.
"Didn't they know (there would be a devaluation)? If so,
everyone knew but them and they are just wasting their time and
should quit quickly," Gorhachev said. "How can you trust them?
How can you entrust the future of the state in them?"
The next presidential election is due in 2000 and the next
parliamentary poll is due at the end of 1999.
Gorbachev, 67, has little influence in Russia despite his
popularity abroad for his role in ending the Cold War. His
public feuding with Yeltsin goes back more than a decade.
But he has experience of some of the problems Yeltsin and
Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko now face.
It was Gorbachev who launched the "perestroika" reforms and
promised his people a turnaround in the economy, something which
never came during his rule.
Those dreams were in effect ended by an attempted coup which
was begun by hardliners on this day in August 1991 and which
Gorbachev said hit his reforms "just when the light had appeared
at the end of the tunnel".
Yeltsin's promises of relative prosperity have also proved a
distant dream for all but a few Russians.
Gorbachev said Monday's decision to allow the rouble to
fluctuate more than previously, effectively letting it devalue,
would affect ordinary people by making imports more expensive
and by reducing the real value of wages and savings.
"It has been done at the people's expense," he said at the
Gorbachev Foundation think-tank which he set up after he fell
from power and the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.
"I think the most dangerous thing is the rise in prices. The
other thing, which is not being talked about, is that there is
no indexation of savings or wages."
Predicting the collapse of many banks, he said: "This is a
He said protests, threatened by trade unions over the
government's failure to pay milions of workers for months, were
likely in the autumn if Yeltsin did not act now. Instead, he
said, Yeltsin remained on holiday outside Moscow.
"That is simply not serious," Gorbachev said.
Gorbachev, who suffered a crushing defeat in the 1996
election, said he did not plan to run for president again.