Interview with Tatyana Malkina
Russia Today: In what ways do you think the new Cabinet will be different from the old one?
Tatyana Malkina: Well, first of all I have to answer – we will see. And second, I think the main point made yesterday by these appointments, is that the new Cabinet is going to be more a continuation of the old Cabinet. And I think the changes that have been made, fortunately, from my point of view, were not dramatic and were actually pretty reasonable. So, there was a signal that continuity is the value, exactly as Mr Aleksey Kudrin said a few days ago. And the changes that have been made, from my point of view, should not change the strategies or policies of the government, they should just strengthen the acting government.
RT: So, no major changes from the point of view of political direction?
T.M.: Obviously not. Actually these are slight changes; if you want me to speculate – I will. There are a few slight changes towards so-called liberal orientation, because Mr Kudrin who is considered to be one of the most liberal ministers and politicians, was promoted. And also we know that Mr Kozak, normally considered a liberal, as well as Ms Elvira Nabiullina, who is also a well known liberal thinker and economist administrator.
RT: What impact might the new ministers have on the Cabinet policy from your point of view?
T.M.: It depends. In fact all of them were already working in one way or another for the government. Ms Nabiullina is very experienced. She has been German Gref’s deputy for years and years. She is a very good strategic thinker, she is super competent. She is obviously more inspired than Mr Gref lately who, as we know, asked offered his resignation several times already. And Ms Tatyana Golikova, she has been working for fiscal departments of the government for many years and she knows the budget well. So, we will see. It depends on how they will be able to work together with Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov. They know each other, too. As you know, Mr Zubkov actually worked for Mr Kudrin for years. I cannot foresee any difficulties for them in working it out, whatever the goal.
RT: As to the priorities of the new Cabinet, what do you think they will be?
T.M.: From what we have heard from the new Prime Minister, we don't know whether he is going to stay PM for more than six months or not. Although I think Mr Putin rescued himself from the lame-duck position and it would not make sense from my point of view to appoint somebody for just six months. So, maybe these cabinet changes do mean that Putin counts on these people to continue working. What will be different, what will the impact be? I do not know. I actually hope that nothing will be particularly different besides the efficiency. And I certainly hope that after this dramatic thing we saw on TV, with Mr Zubkov basically yelling at the Cabinet. Maybe it does mean that there is somebody who seriously thinks that yes, things – when they are decided upon – should work. And people, when they say that the money transfer will be done within two weeks – yes, it probably should mean that the money is going to be there in two weeks, etc. So what we called in Soviet times “trudovaya disciplina”, I remember, a certain work ethic which was not ever a strong part of the Russian authorities. I mean if that happens – we will greet it.