Brief Outline of Sergei Mitrokhin’s
at the State Council meeting
(Unofficial English translation)
January 22, 2010
The key problem of Russia’s political system is monopolism
which manifests itself in three major ways:
1) bodies of power and parliaments of all levels demonstrate
monopoly of one party representing the interests of bureaucracy
and large-scale business merged with it;
2) complete dominance of the executive over the judicial authority;
3) dictate of one social class – the bureaucracy – over all
other social groups.
Thus, the present political system generally reproduces the
Soviet system, with its key flaw – the monopoly of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union on power.
Such monopoly led to the insensibility of the political system
of the USSR to the challenges of the time. Attempts to reform
the system were considerably belated and that, consequently,
led to a collapse of the USSR.
Certainly reproduction of this system after Boris Yeltsin’s
era led to some stabilisation in the country. However, today
stabilisation has been evolving towards stagnation which in
some of its traits resembles that of the Soviet period under
Leonid Brezhnev. In that period the system was demonstrating
the signs of a crisis, and the same signs have appeared now.
Let me innumerate only the key traits:
in the state system – absence of the real
division of powers, corruption resulting from uncontrolledness
of bureaucrats and adoption of corruption-prone laws by parliaments
in the interests of bureaucracy and large business, degradation
of the interior, election fraud for the sake preservation
of the monopoly of one party by all means;
in politics – absence of a real fully-fledged
political discussion, political parties are deprived of the
opportunity to work efficiently and are put into unequal conditions,
non-profit organisations experience constant distrust and
pressure on behalf of the state;
in the economy – conservation of a raw-material-intensive
economy, dictatorship of natural monopolies, lobbying of the
interests of oligarchic companies to the detriment of small
and medium-scale business;
in the society – at a high level of trust
to the heads of the state absolute distrust to its institutions,
elections (especially after October 11), governments and law
enforcement bodies, loss of the key condition for the progress
of the country, real reforms and successful modernisation
– i.e., public trust to the state institutions and the rule
of law; degradation of public consciousness as a result of
media-policies oriented on distracting public attention from
important issues, as well as “buffoonerisation” of the information
Supporting the modernisation slogan set forth by the
President we think that Russia’s present political system
is incompatible with modernisation. On the opposite,
it (like the communist system of the later USSR) is programmed
towards stagnation, demodernisation and, finally, degradation
of the country.
This system does not have place for empowerment of creative
potential of the society, formation of social groups capable
of active support of the modernisation course, including a
large class of owners which would be independent in its relations
with the authorities, i.e. would be able to solve problems
without mediation of the authorities, and capable of representation
of its interests on the state level.
Let me give you a recent example. Yesterday mass media informed
about another round of pulling down of houses in the Rechnik
village. Houses of the middle class were pulled down. A law
on amnesty of unregistered houses did not protect them (why?
because it had been written in such a way!). An elite village
Ostrov Fantaziy (Fantasy Island) is situated near by, in the
same protected natural reserve area. However, no one has disturbed
its residents, as they are top officials and influential businessmen.
The conclusion is as follows: a status of an individual rather
than law guarantees his property rights in Russia. And the
law fixes this medieval principle today.
When our middle class is so deprived of rights – first of
all of property rights – there won’t be any modernisation.
This is what we have to modernise at first hand.
However, such key modernisation of property rights can not
go without a large-scale political reform.
The reform should develop along the following key streamlines:
demonopolisation, creation of conditions for political
competition, liberation of the society, separation of power
from business and formation of a fully-fledged owners class.
The first steps of the political reform should be as follows:
1. MASS MEDIA. Abolishment of censorship
in the state mass media and cancellation of the ban on criticism
of top officials, including President and Prime Minister.
Punishment for applying administrative pressure on mass media
and journalists. Provision of equal access to the media for
all the political parties.
2. ELECTIONS. Demonopolisation of the system
of electoral commissions (formed by the parties on an equal
basis). Differentiation of criminal and administrative responsibility
for the fraud and reduction of the electoral barrier on all
levels and ban on “locomotives” (Ed. When a well-known public
figure is included into a party’s electoral list so that to
ensure voting for this party, however, after voting such persons
resign or refuse from their mandates). Restoration of elections
of governors and the Federation Council.
3. PARTIES. Lowering of the membership normative
for parties to 5,000 people. Abolishment of collection of
signatures for enrollment in election campaigns for parties.
Elimination of other discriminatory measures on behalf of
parliamentary parties against “non-parliamentary” parties.
4. PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS. Complete restoration
of rights of public non-profit organisations. Abolishment
of all unjustified bans contradicting to the international
practices on receipt of financial aid by such organisations.
Ensuring of access of independent non-profit organisations
to the state mass media.
5. THE BUREAUCRACY. Abolishment of legal
norms allowing officials to uncontrolledly (on behalf of the
parliament and the society) dispose of Russia’s national resources
(state budget, raw materials and land). Ban for the state
servants to participate in the boards of directors of state-owned
companies and companies with a state-owned share, moreover
to head such boards.
6. BUSINESS. The measures for formation of
a mass layer of small owners. Measures against interference
of business into politics: laws on transparency in political
parties financing, on lobbying in the parliament and ban for
representatives of large business to obtain state posts. Owners’
rights should be guaranteed, including their political right
to openly and transparently within the framework of the law
finance political parties and movements.
Further steps are described in the programme of the Russian
United Democratic Party YABLOKO, as well as in YABLOKO’s anti-crisis
proposals handed to the President in June 2009.
If the political reform does not start today, Russia can
pass the “point of no return”, as happened to the USSR which
lost its chance to timely reforms.
of Small-Scale Business