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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kiriyenko Answers All Comers on Web




Internet novice Sergei Kiriyenko complained about his service provider, got flamed by a guy named Dmitry and defended his decision to devalue the ruble, all during a conference Thursday on the World Wide Web.


The former prime minister met the online public to inaugurate the web site of his new political movement, Novaya Sila, which he is touting as the party of the "silent majority" of "economically independent" people. Novaya Sila, founded several weeks ago, is focused on policy, not leaders, says Kiriyenko. Its web address is http://www.kirienko.ru.


Kiriyenko's former deputy, Boris Nemtsov, who opened a site at http://www.nemtsov.ru when he was still a Kremlin favorite, recently changed it to a promotion for his new Rossia Molodaya political movement.


An advocate of market reform, Kiriyenko was an obscure energy minister when President Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly chose him to become prime minister in March. He lasted five months until being fired after the Aug. 17 decision to devalue the ruble and default on some government debt.


Sitting in a conference room at RIA Novosti news agency, Kiriyenko responded to questions - mostly polite - about the economy, science and his plans to run for office, ending each answer with a call to unite and asking people to click on their mouse buttons to join the movement."


He said he often had trouble dialing up his provider in the evenings, and admitted he had only three months' Internet experience, mostly with online newspapers. And he was introduced to a favorite custom of electronic playground bullies, the flame, or angry missive.


One man who identified himself as Dmitry asked: "If Kiriyenko alone could destroy everything in Russia, what can a whole movement of his followers do?"


"It's absolutely your right to think that way," Kiriyenko responded. "But if you really think everything in the country was normal and we ruined it in one day, I feel sorry for you. You have a pretty poor understanding of what's going on in Russia."