Our today’s interviewee is Viacheslav Legkodukh, regional farmer ombudsman.
Q.: Your position is without equal in other regions. Does the Krasnodar region have any legal basis set up for your professional functional?
A.: My task is to go as deeply as possible into the farmers’ problems and help resolve them legislatively rather than with the help of ‘tractor marches’ to Moscow. There is plenty of work to do – say, now I am working on 200 applications written by farmers where they ask me to help settle their problems.
Our task is to teach all players of the [agricultural] market to adhere to law and consequently to help our federal and legislative bodies to get a mechanism that would correct the potential wrongdoer. So my main task is to build a platform and create the opportunities for faster development of small and midsize agricultural businesses, to stop the decline in living standards in the country.
Q.: The ‘tractor march’ of the Kuban farmers was one of the loudest PR actions of the last year. Were in your opinion the claims of its participants well-grounded? What is your attitude to this kind of protest?
A.: Public annoyance is appearing first of all in the municipalities where public institutions are working hardly if at all. As a result, farmers find themselves in the information and legal vacuum, wind themselves up and may fall an easy prey to the politicos wishing to gain popularity.
Q.: What systemic problems were you able to identify in the small and midsize agricultural business segments? And which of them did you manage to resolve?
A.: There were no systemic problems raised. The protesters were complaining a lot about raider takeovers, but there were no facts proving this.
The worst situation was in the Pavlovsky rayon – a couple of years ago, the local authorities had broken contracts with some of the farmers there, and a criminal proceeding has been instituted there. The farmers in Labinsk had a conflict with the Pokrovsky Company. All other protesters were advocating their own interests.