Rory MacLean: Just after elections you have instituted an independent journalistic award. Tell about this award and the mechanism of its work. Who will be awarded for independent mass media?
Dmitry Soin: I believe that change of a president does not always mean change of a totalitarian system. The one challenge of Transnistria I have criticized all these last years consists in making an attempt to keep the illusion of a monolithic society, when a state follows a principle: one leader, one society, one opinion and that is all. This model presupposes that a leader is impeccable and holy and a society trusts him absolutely. And we must encourage, with the help of such an award too, civil society and journalists to stop being afraid of criticizing authorities in all levels: from the president to a deputy, from the chairman of the government to the local authorities. Officials must understand that this is profitable for them, because the most economically powerful countries are based on publicity and the opportunity of a mutual control of a society and authorities. Imposing the idea that a total unity of a society and authorities is an ideal state model was the biggest problem of Transnistria. As far as I casted doubt on this principle, began saying that the force of Transnistria will be conditioned by variety of opinions, competition of political forces and ideas, problems with authorities happened to me. By providing this variety only we will start advancing. Otherwise stagnation emerges. While fighting us authorities and local secrete service made everything possible, including DOS-attack on ‘Lenta PMR’ (www.tiras.ru) – news agency which publishes our materials. They also instituted proceedings against the newspaper ‘Russky PRORIV!’ (‘Russian breakthrough’) by the request of Antufeev, ex-minister of the State Security Department. Moreover, they tried to close the press where this newspaper was printed. They even turned off the light there. And the Ministry of Justice filed an action to close down our Party. This was a real political persecution. You see what measures our authorities took last year for dissent views and the wish for changes only. We published almost secretly our newspaper. In fact, we led the underground struggle: we printed our newspaper’s issues at night, took them out of the press in secret and distributed them under the surveillance by the officers of the Ministry of State Security. You are surprised now; however, we faced such things which are paradoxical in the modern world. Today our objective is not to allow new leaders to turn into retiring ones.
Rory MacLean: Do you believe that the election of the new president of Transnistria can mean the change of eras?
Dmitry Soin: I believe that the retirement of the ex-president and his team gives such an opportunity. Will authorities and people take profit from it – this is a big question. That is why I decided to institute a journalistic award ‘People’s control’. I want to launch an independent press-club and there are also many plans directed on reanimating an informational field of Transnistria. Without this all reforms including economic ones will be senseless and unprofitable.
Rory MacLean: The journalistic award will be given to one who will criticize the president?
Dmitry Soin: Not only. There are some more nominations. They are: the best critical article on the president, the best critical article on the chairman of the speaker of the parliament, on deputies, officials of all levels and on the abuse in the budgetary field.