Journalist Grigory Pasko recently had the opportunity to sit down with Andrei Illarionov, former advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, and currently a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute in Washington.
GRIGORY PASKO: Andrei Nikolayevich, appearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives in February of the year 2009, you said: “Today’s Russia is not a democratic country”… And further: “The members of the Corporation do share strong allegiance to their respective organizations, strict codes of conduct and of honor, basic principles of behavior, including among others the principle of mutual support to each other in any circumstances and the principle of omerta.” But is this not a characterization of a classical mafia? Can one fight with a mafia using democratic methods: honest elections, unbribable independent courts, free mass information media?
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: A very good and complex question. But I will not give you an answer now. Inasmuch as we have to make several sub-points here. First: is this phenomenon a mafia? It has very many features that look like a mafia, that are close to a mafia. Nevertheless, this is not exactly a mafia. More precisely, this is some kind of a special mafia. A mafia of such a kind – a siloviki corporation, as we have, – belongs to the group of special siloviki structures that exist in different human societies. By the way, states as such ought to be included in this as well.