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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  May 17, 2019 4:30am-5:01am BST

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president trump has outlined plans to toughen border security and refocus the us immigration system. he said younger, well educated, english—speaking workers who already have job offers should make up more than half of all legal immigrants. his plans look unlikely to make it through congress with the current political balance. china is threatening retaliation against the latest american sanctions, which effectively block companies in the united states from using products made by the chinese tech giant huawei. the white house says the order is to protect national security. taiwan is expected to become the first place in asia to legalise same—sex marriage. the declaration was actually made in may 2017. parliament was given two years to enact the changes. legislators are voting on three draft bills, each with quite a different view of what equality looks like.
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now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. by the time vladimir putin's current presidential term ends, he will have dominated russian politics for a quarter of a century and already there is talk of manoeuvres to ensure his grip on power is maintained beyond 202a. he is the world's greatest exponent of strongman rule. my guest today has spent the putin years in thankless, fruitless opposition. grigory yavlinsky‘s brand of liberal economics and political reform has failed to take root. is it because, unlike putin, he doesn't speak to russia's heart?
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grigory yavlinsky, welcome to hardtalk. thank you for your invitation. you have had many years, i guess you could say too many years, to consider why vladimir putin has succeeded and you, in politics in russia, have consistently failed. what is the key to understanding that? history of russia is a very long story and tradition in russia, as you know, is not very liberal. and i am fighting for new era in russia, for liberal reforms, for human rights, forjustice, for divisions of powers. that never happens in russia but i'm doing that only for 30 years. it's not enough.
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is it your conclusion that the russian people simply aren't interested in some of the concepts that you've outlined? justice, human rights. is that not appealing to the russian public? i think russian people is not very different from the other people in europe or north america. but there is no tradition, no experience and no fruitful results of the economic reforms in ‘90s. just opposite. the economic reforms in russia, with the support of the world, created putin's system itself. the system, where is the merger? government, property and business altogether. in the same.
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and yet when we look at russian politics today and your role in it, we can't but look at the evidence of elections and opinion polls. you, as long ago as 1996, ran for the presidency of russia and you scored a respectable 7% or so. the last time you ran in the last election in 2018, you scored the rather pathetic outcome of 1%. vladimir putin of course, consistently scores over 60%. yes, but from ‘96 until 2018, the procedural actions deteriorated extremely. it's nothing having common with the presidential elections anymore. it's a kind of plebiscite about putin. that may be so and the plebiscite says, the russian people
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like what they see. right. no, it's saying they don't see alternative. there is no alternative on the screens of russian media. russian media is completely one thing or the other thing. we have economic growth when the oil prices were more than $120 a barrel so this combination of these two things, of course, made a special vision of the people. the main thing is, in putin's system, there is no political competition and i was taking part in the elections, to have an opportunity to speak to the people,
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to say to them, in russian of course, the same things that i'm telling to you. but i am looking at the arc of history, notjust in russia but around the world, in recent years and surely one can conclude that vladimir putin saw much earlier than many politicians the power of marrying a very strong authoritarian tone to a nationalist and populist message. he wove nationalism into his political offer. now you and the liberals in russia, as i said at the very beginning of this programme, have completely failed, it seems to me, to connect on an emotional and maybe even nationalistic level with your own people. to some extent, you're right but i want to say what happens with putin and his ideas in the world is not his advantage. it's a disadvantage over the world politics. but russia today looks stronger than it has for many,
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many years, both to russians inside your country, and indeed to many observers outside russia who see vladimir putin in the middle east, for example, even in recent chaotic situations like venezuela, projecting russian power. it's not about russian power. it's about influence which can russia just put in the world politics in this situation, with the impetus of the world politics. simply, world leaders are absolutely not prepared to do anything with the complicated problems, as you know. i'm not going to speakjust about mr trump with north korea, or great britain with brexit, or france with the yellowjackets, or poland with the nationalism
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or hungary with the same thing. it's spreading everywhere and it's a problem... but vladimir putin has tapped into something extremely powerful in your country and if we start with ukraine, close to home on the border, a country which russia is always seen as part of its wider sphere of influence, in 2014, when vladimir putin decisively decided to send troops into crimea and indeed send some troops into eastern ukraine as well, the russian public absolutely loved it and the annexation of crimea has kept his popularity high ever since. first of all, not everybody in russia liked that. well, not everybody, but look at the polls, be realistic. a big number of people but not everybody. secondly, what happens at least, i would say, in the eastern ukraine, it's a crime.
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thousands of people, dozens of thousands of people is killed there. you have said that. you've said — never mind donbass and anything else — you've said quite clearly, the annexation of crimea itself is an unlawful act. crimea is not ours. annexation of crimea is unlawful act, there is no doubt of that. but it's necessary to clarify that to the world and to the people. i admire, if i may say so, i admire your determination to speak out when you are swimming against a very strong tide but nonetheless, if you look at the impact of what your position has had on politics, you are portrayed by putin's people and many others in russia as somebody who is fundamentally unpatriotic, who is betraying the interests of russians. this is not true, and they know that, because i'm trying to look
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for the future of russia. not only for today. strategically, strategically, what happens in crimea, in donbass and mostly in syria, is a trap — is a trap of the future of russia. this is the point, the key point. we are losing, with that kind of politics, russia is losing its future, completely. well, you say that but the economist magazine, which isn't given to hyperbole in these matters, says that as a result of russia's policies in syria, in particular, there is a new swagger about russia in the wider the world. it says moscow has turned into a centre of significant middle east diplomacy. economist magazine sees vladimir putin exercising a real
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authority, turning russia into a credible player in strategic politics in the middle east. there are two things to say. first, it's just a very short view. it's not for a long time, in the long term. we tune in, it was about 10 years in afghanistan, and lost there 15,000 lives. and what happens in the end? all that collapsed. so but you can say in the middle of this 10 years, in the middle, everywhere, he was strong, he was fighting, sometimes it happens with americans in vietname, with the russians, the soviets in afghanistan. today soviets, russians are in syria, but it's a very, very difficult situation from the point of view of consequences for russia.
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i see what you're saying, and pessimism sometimes is very well justified but your‘e in the unfortunate position of, with your views, you are sort of suggesting the russian people are being idiots because i've been looking at the opinion poll evidence and i've dug into it a little bit and the most recent surveys of opinion show that russian people have a +31; approval rating for vladimir putin strengthening russia militarily. they have +29 rating for vladimir improving russian‘s standing internationally. so they don't buy your pessimism. two things. first, russia have no opinion polls, forget about that. they don't use that. in authoritarian system, opinion polls by the state agency, and other state agencies, is not possible. but russia isn't north korea. mr valinsky, when you go home, you can speak to newspapers, there are certain radio stations that will put you on air.
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it's not north korea. i can speak to one newspaper into one radio station. i can't make that kind of interview on russian television. it's not possible at all, at all. that's why i was taking part in the so—called presidential elections, to be able to say something to the people. now, secondly, what i want to say, not only problem with opinion polls but also sometimes it happens that, for a long time, you are, looks like a complete failure in politics. mr churchill was in that position some time. so you're are saying to me, your time is yet to come, despite the fact you've been
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in politics for the last 30 years? what i want to say, my time, i'm not sure, but the time for my ideas will come. let's think about russia's status one more time, let's think about what we see and again, you say surveys aren't important. to me, they sometimes can be telling. 70% of russians now say they believe josef stalin played a positive role in their country's history. there is something going on here about russia's attraction to stability, to strong—man rule, if i can put it that way, authoritarianism, if you want to call it that, which, actually, for russian people, when they look back at history, and look at their country today, it is delivering. yes, russians are taking this stance and this view because the current putin system is based on some principles which were created by stalin. principles like ends justify the means.
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the people are not important. the life or death is not important any more. so many things... rights, there is no rights, there is no system ofjustice, there is no system of laws. it is only like a declaration. yes, we have a declaration which looks like western countries but in substance it is still the power of one personality. but you said yourself that russians have very strong and clear memories of the chaos of the 1990s. they remember the absolute poverty, the destitution that came with the collapse of the soviet union and the crony capitalism and the anarchy that we saw in the mid—‘90s. you were a reformer at the time, you wanted a market—based system. maybe you didn't want the chaos, but you're associated
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with those failures. and what we see with vladimir putin today is... maybe it's a stagnant economy, but it's a stable economy. it has low debt, low deficits. indeed, the imf praises russia for its responsible management of the public finances. yes, you're absolutely right. the way the reforms were completed, accomplished, in the ‘90s, was wrong. now a lot of people understand that. they created, as i told you before, this system, the system of mafia state. russia today is a kind of a mafia state. right, but in the mid—‘90s 30% of russians lived in poverty, now it's down to 12% or 13%. russia's people measure the reality of putin's russia today against what they remember
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of that chaotic period, and frankly they still stick with putin today. yes, this is right, but it doesn't mean that this is their choice forever. it is interesting to compare along the strong propaganda. it is an understandable outcome of that. but you can recall what happens in europe in the ‘30s with italy, with mussolini, for example. i'm not speaking about germany. it's a very special case. but let's speak a little bit about italy, let's speak about mussolini, everybody was so happy with him, everybody was voting for him, everybody was supporting him. western countries were so happy because there was no unemployment, economic growth. but that is the way to nowhere. now it is clear.
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ijust wonder, again i'm thinking about how the russian opposition changes the dynamic, because you'd be the first to agree that frankly right now you're not gaining traction. your opinion poll standings, if you care about them, are incredibly low and there's no sign of momentum growing on the streets or anywhere else. maybe it's time for you to come up with a different economic message which is less pro—western, less addicted to sort of neoliberal western economic arguments and is more intrinsically russian in its character. i'm not trying to implement western recipe or western model. when i'm talking i'm speaking about the model which is necessary for russia. whether it's like western or not like western at the moment, it's not so important. it is in the minds of many russians, though. it is in the minds of many russians because putin's system is trying
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to penetrate in the brains. and look, you know, everybody is saying in the world that putin is trying to influence american elections and americans are almost crazy about that. so you can imagine what he can do in russia. how he can influence these opinion polls, how he can influence all the other things in the elections, in the results of the elections. so it's not about what is he doing. my point is what is necessary for my country. yeah, i understand that and i'm trying to get my head around where you go from here because with respect, you and i have talked before years ago and frankly you haven't really made political headway in the years since. over the years i've spoken to people like gary kasparov,
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the late boris nemtsov, who i interviewed a couple of times, and of course we know what happened to him, gunned downjust outside the kremlin. strong country, strong putin. my point was all of you, powerful, charismatic individuals who have failed to connect, it seems to me, with russia's electorate. one man i did interview who did seem to strike a real connection was alexei navalny because his message is it seems to me more nationalistic, it has a more russian component to it. navalny wasn't allowed to run in the presidential election last time, you were. should you be learning some lessons from navalny? no, full stop. because? because nationalism for russia means war sooner or later, that's it. that's the point. do you think then, if you see an unacceptable nationalism alongside authoritarianism
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in the putin regime that russia is ultimately on a track to war? yes, that's what i want to underline. it's a real threat. in the ukraine or where? it can happen everywhere. in iran, for example, where 120,000 military would come from the united states as they're discussing at the moment, in syria or in ukraine, easily, or somewhere else, this is the nature of that kind of a system and this is a question of time. sooner or later it comes to that point, and if you just make a record of mr putin and what he's saying on this issue, you will see clearly that he's prepared for that and he's looking for the opportunity for that. i'm just thinking to myself, perhaps vladimir putin has bbc world news in the kremlin, perhaps he's watching this interview right now, perhaps he's heard you making a comparison
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with winston churchill and let's not forget, winston churchill spent decades in the political wilderness before he came to power... when he came. do you think when vladimir putin listens to you say that and you say, "my politics, my ideas will have their time in russia and they will come." do you think he takes you seriously or do you think he laughs at you? i think he knows that, he agrees with that but he don't know what to do. he's in the corner. he put himself in the corner, in the dead end. he absolutely knows that i'm right. not about myself but that idea is the only future for russia. he knows that. so here is the question for you, if you are to have credibility, you explain to me how you think it is that the system, because you're focussed notjust on putin as an individual but the system, how is the system going to be fundamentally challenged and dismantled by the
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opposition in russia? this is the main and key question — what would happen after putin? this is the key question. because if the system would stay in place then would come another person after putin but nothing would be changed. even worser, it would be even worser than now. running the same machine. absolutely. my question is to would bring down this machine? is it street action, is it popular resistance? because it isn't going to be the ballot box, because you say that elections are completely fales and rigged. elections are completely false and rigged. absolutely. the main issue for today and the main question for today is to create the big, large, political, civil, democratic opposition party. that's what i'm doing. it's very difficult... you're at 1% in the polls.
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don't believe russian polls. it doesn't matter, maybe 0.5% in the polls, it doesn't matter. you're asking me what is necessary to do, i'm telling you what is necessary to do. it is necessary for the first time in the history of russia to create the civil political democratic force. that kind of a force, maybe this is not for the first time, second time, which started and completed successful and peaceful reforms 30 years ago. 30 years ago. it happens only once. it's not about me. we're out of time but how can you do it? we're talking about ideas, maybe some people will come. but that is what is needed today. grigory yavlinsky, we have to do end it there but thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you very much. we really appreciate it. thank you.
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hello. after what has been a largely dry and pretty warm week for many of us, things are about to change as we head through friday and into the weekend, turning a little bit more unsettled. but this is how we ended the day on thursday, a beautiful, serene sunset there in topsham in devon. during the day on friday, there's going to be more cloud across the country, and that cloud will bring with it a few spots of showery rain. we've still got some spells of sunshine on offer, but as we head through the day on friday, what we're going to see is this week frontal system moving its way in on this easterly breeze, so that will bring some cloud and outbreaks of rain too. now, during friday morning, the areas most likely to see
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the rain are across central and southern england, through wales as well. further north, perhaps the odd shower across parts of scotland but there will be plenty of sunshine once again in the bulk of scotland. more cloud working in across eastern parts of england during the day on that easterly breeze with one or two spots of rain. i think northern ireland should stay mostly dry, with a bit of sunshine. temperatures still 17 to 19 across northern ireland and scotland, but england and wales, you're more typically 13 to 16, so cooler than it has been. so as we move through friday evening and overnight into saturday, we'll see more persistent, heavier rain working in from the east, particularly affecting scotland and northern england too. so quite a murky start to saturday here with that drizzly rain and low cloud too. further south, we're going to see some brightness to start off your weekend. but in general, the weekend is looking slightly cloudier and cooler than we've seen through this week. there will be some showers but it won't be a washout, a bit of sunshine on offer through the weekend too. so let's look at some detail then for saturday. what have we got? we've got low pressure sitting
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across central parts of europe, the winds rotating around that area of low pressure bringing us quite a bit of cloud off the north sea and some outbreaks of rain. the rain much of northern england and scotland through saturday morning. a few of those showers will push into northern ireland through the day. i think the southern half of england and much of wales should see some sunny spells through the morning, but a chance of showers breaking out almost anywhere during the afternoon. now, temperatures around about 1a to 18 degrees — cooler than it has been — but there should be some brighter spells in the south. it will still feel quite pleasant. moving on into the second half of the weekend, and there's not much change in the pressure set—up so not much change in the weather. sunday, another fairly cloudy day, particularly in the north. there could be some sunshine in southern and eastern england in particular, but again, there'll be some showers. they'll be heaviest and most frequent in scotland, where we could have the odd rumble of thunder. a few showers further south too, but warming up a touch compared to saturday, so highs of around 13 to 19 degrees. bye for now.
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this is the briefing. i'm victoria fritz. our top story: europe prepares to head to the polls — we're in france, looking at the growing strength of populist movements. taiwan's parliament is debating legislation that could see it become the first place in asia to allow same—sex marriage. kitsch meets carnival — it's eurovision time — but organisers say they don't want politics to overshadow the music. and coming up in business briefing, collateral damage did while away warns that a us man will affect tens
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of thousands of jobs warns that a us man will affect tens of thousands ofjobs with

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