Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Press Center TV: The territory of Glasnost features Yevgeniy Kiselyov, journalist

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This is Glasnost Territory, and I am Kseniya Turkova.

Our guest today is journalist Yevgeniy Kiselyov.

Good afternoon.


I think that first of all we will talk about an event

that has been discussed a lot:

Mikhail Kasyanov testifying in the Khamovniki Court

and his statements, which I think are important,

but the question is: what will they lead to now?

Of course, if it were a real trial,

if it were indeed a transparent competitive trial

with an unpredetermined outcome,

then, I am sure, that would be the main witness for the defense.

After all, he was prime minister in the government

in the very years when Khodorkovsky and Lebedev

according to the prosecutors perpetrated their crimes,

and he clearly states that he is sure

that no embezzlement could have taken place,

that nothing extraordinary was happening,

and that Yukos was under close scrutiny

of various government agencies

and various executive bodies.

Is my understanding correct

that Kasyanov in fact said what he says in the book

the two of you have written together,in the chapter on Yukos?

In principle, the book, which we published last fall,

details the work on reforming tax legislation.

He [Kasyanov] noted one significant detail:

the government was in negotiation with many oil companies,

but in the process of those negotiations,

Khodorkovsky came to speak,

not for Yukos alone,

but for the entire powerful oil sector of the Russian economy,

as its informal leader.

That, apparently, added tension

to his relations with the ruling power,

which saw him as a potential leader:

today, he is the leader in his sector,

and tomorrow, he may well transform his leadership

in his business community

into a different kind of leadership.

into political quality.

That undoubtedly was one of the reasons

for the emergence of the Yukos Affair

and Kodorkovsky's personal case.

I want to say that Kasyanov's testimony, I am afraid,

with all its political importance,

with all the repercussions that his appearance as a witness

has caused in the Russian and foreign press,

very likely, changes nothing in the trial's scenario,

which is being written, not in the courtroom

nor in the deliberation room,

but elsewhere.

That is because, in the end,

I am convinced, a political decision will be made.

Do you not have a feeling

that the trial is being dragged out

because some higher-ups are in a tug of war

and cannot decide which way the balance will tip?

Well, you understand that this is a story

of an execute/pardon dilemma.

They have a hard time choosing between the two,

cause neither of the two decisions is good enough politically.

Clearly, another conviction of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev

would be a heavy blow

on the reputation and image of Russia,

especially after so many opinions voiced both domestically

and abroad

by very respectable figures in politics,

economics, arts, and literature.

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger,

who was the PACE's special reporter on Yukos

and the Khodorkovsky Affair

and who was only a deputy

from an opposition party when she was preparing her report,

has now again become Germany's minister of justice.

You see, when we have a minister of justice of Germany

who has already formulated her opinion

the affair in an unequivocal way,

this is a somewhat different situation

as compared to 2004 or 2005.

In general, I think that the pendulum of public attitude

toward the case of Khodorkovsky has moved

in the opposite direction.

Look at the number of respected people.

There are public-opinion leaders

who during the first trial of Khodorkovsky,

expressing human compassion

and expressing their failure to understand

how the first trial was unfolding

and speaking critically enough about the government,

did not speak openly

and directly in support of Mikhail Borisovich [Khodorkovsky].

And now look, whenever you come to the trial,

You see someone sitting there in the audience.

At the same time, we understand

that the judge makes decisions on matters like changing the measure of restraint

looking back at the higher-ups.

I think that this trial,

if it goes on like this, rather slowly,

may well last until next year.

Lebedev's term ends in June of next year -

he has a little over one year left.

Khodorkovsky has a year and a few months -

his term ends in October.

We understand that the trial

could also last until October.

And then we will see what will happen.

I understand this as a part of some scenario.

At the same time, I do not want to upset anyone;

I understand the desire of the relatives,

friends, and all the sympathizers of Mikhail Borisovich

to see the trial end in his favor.

But I am afraid that a somewhat different scenario

is being played out,

a scenario with a conviction in the sentence

and a very lengthy, thorough court examination,

formally almost impeccable.

Do you think it is important for them

to see people come to attend the trial -

both simple people and well-known ones

you have spoken about?

Of course, it amounts to moral support for them.

As soon as they see a new familiar face in the courtroom,

a friend, an acquaintance, a business partner,

a person they have been in touch with in the government

or NGOs or anywhere else

or people they know by their looks,

of course, they smile and wave their hands in greeting.

Clearly, this is very important for them.

I met a woman there who brought them New Year presents

- that was back in winter - and she said:

I live at the other end of the city,

but when I think that they will come

and will see no one there

Therefore, I get up in the morning and go.

I was moved to hear that.

If you were the presenter of,let us say, Itogi,

what would you tell your viewers at the end?

I have always been saying

that we will meet again next time.

when the program ceased to exist.

Well, there are circumstances that are stronger than we are.

Thank you very much for this conversation.

We will meet again next time.

This was Glanost Territory,

and our guest was journalist Yevgeniy Kiselyov.

I am Kseniya Turkova.

The Description of Press Center TV: The territory of Glasnost features Yevgeniy Kiselyov, journalist