Chairman of the Interstate Committee for the Dissemination of Knowledge and Adult Education,
President of the International Association “Znanie”
Full member of the International Academy of Astronautics,
Academician of the Russian Academy of Astronautics named after K.E. Tsiolkovsky. Academician of Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after K.E. Tsiolkovsky
President of the International Association “Znanie”
“Ukraine’s Claims on Soviet Real Estate Abroad – Unfounded”
(Interview by Efim Malitikov to Voice of Russia on March 6, 2009)
– Hello, Viktor Samarin – political observer of Voice of Russia radio station. Our guest today is Efim Malitikov, Chairman of the CIS Committee for Knowledge and Adult Education, President of the International Association Znanie, academic, professor. Hello, Yefim Mikhailovich.
– Good day.
– Efim Mikhailovich, the topic of our conversation may seem strange to many people, meanwhile in Ukraine this question is being discussed – the question of the property of the former Soviet Union. For some reason many Ukrainian mass media, politicians, political analysts, historians – if they can be called historians without adding the prefix “pseudo” – claim that Ukraine has the right to claim most of the property of the former Soviet Union. And that Russia, they say, ignores Ukraine’s property rights to foreign property of the former Soviet Union. Well, I have to remind our listeners here that the truth is that Russia became the legal successor to the Soviet Union and took over all foreign debts and all financial and material obligations abroad. This was agreed upon immediately after the collapse of the USSR, and all the countries of the former Soviet Union that had become sovereign nations agreed to this. Naturally, Russia was taking over Soviet foreign property, and everyone agreed to this, except Ukraine. However, Ukraine has agreed that Russia should pay its debts for the Soviet Union and fulfill its material obligations all over the world, and everyone in Kiev even agreed with this. And then, there are probably some forces that are trying to discredit Russia, to smear Russia, to portray it as some kind of monster that has seized everything. In general, he has seized everything that belongs to everyone. Say, no one denies that Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and other republics contributed to the creation of Soviet property, including Soviet property abroad, to the best of their abilities. But that doesn’t mean that the other republics can claim to review the results of the property division I just mentioned, does it?
– Of course not. Russia is the sole legal heir to the USSR, the sole legal bearer of it, with gigantic obligations which were fulfilled at the expense of the people who created this very property…
– Obligations were common and debts were common, right? These debts exceeded in value all our property abroad at the time, whatever they say now about the value of Russian real estate, our palaces abroad!
– No doubt about it. One could talk about the justice of such claims, no, not even about justice, one could say that such claims are immoral. They are absolutely immoral also because even the former all-union property located not abroad, but in the various former Soviet republics is attacked. For example, at one time the structures of the All-Union Znanie Society, including those in Ukraine, were able, with our help, with the authority of our International Association “Znanie”, to keep the premises. But what is happening now? Many of these premises are being directly raided – there, locally, not somewhere in the far abroad. Our own people are stealing property from their own people: the thief steals the baton! We had the same situation in Kyrgyzstan. President Akaev gave his word that the property of Znamyaev is untouchable and will not be given to anybody who would want it. Incidentally, Mr. Akayev was a member of our Presidium, he was president of the Kyrgyz Znanie Society, and he was president of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, while also remaining president of the country. I repeat: he gave his word! But there are situations when some kind of clan interests, especially if they are supported by the president’s family, turn out to be even stronger than the court ruling. The court made such a decision in Bishkek in favor of the legal owner, the Znanie company, but it was ignored.
– There are both political goals and selfish purposes of some clans in an attempt to squeeze something out. What do you think, what are the perspectives of these scandalous situations?
– In my opinion, they, first of all, have no future. And among other things, if you take, for example, our “Znanie” society, we are in the process of preparing for a big international trial to return our gigantic, 100% built with our money, boarding house in Preyla, on the Kursk spit. In 1991, the Lithuanian authorities simply took it and gave it to the Lithuanian Interior Ministry. In the same way the icebreaker “Krasin”, which we had bought for propaganda purposes, disappeared from our hands. By the way, I’ll finish my story about the Kyrgyz Znanie Society, which I’ve already mentioned. Its building stands on the central square of the Kyrgyz capital, like we have a mausoleum near the Kremlin in Moscow. And the academics stood there like fighters so they wouldn’t be evicted. But the bandits came and literally threw them out – through the frames, through the glass. And this was happening against the background that both the court and the Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan, the so-called Jogorku Kenesh, had ruled in favor of the Znazhenevs. When bailiffs came to return the property to the Znanie Society, the thugs showed them their fists. These are people before whom even the court is weak!
– What is your summary of Ukrainian claims on Soviet property abroad?
– My summary: there is no prospect for such claims. They are just noise to distract the attention of Ukrainian citizens from the economically helpless, I would say, shameful state of their own independent country. These are the empty claims of a bankrupt.
– This was the point of view of Efim Malitikov, academician, president of the International Znanie Association. Thank you.