Presented by Grigory Yavlinsky,
with remarks by Sergei Ivanenko, A. Roginsky, A. Daniel, Andrei Ryabov, Y.Rachinsky, Lev Gudkov, Alexei Yablokov, Viktor Kogan-Yasny, Vadim Monin, Valery Goryachev, Boris Misnik, Galina Michalyova and Alexander Shishlov.
Resolution ¹ 8
(Unofficial translation into English)
February 28, 2009 Moscow
OVERCOMING BOLSHEVISM AND STALINISM AS A KEY FACTOR FOR RUSSIA’S TRANSFORMATION IN THE 21st CENTURY
The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO regards the current dangerous socio-political situation in the country as rapidly deteriorating: political killings have become a decisive factor and violence against individuals has turned into a key argument.
Politically motivated reprisals in a quasi-legal and often even criminal form give rise to a fear which has spread onto social groups throughout Russia’s regions.
Two new names – those of Stanislav Markelov, lawyer, and Anastasiya Baburova, journalist, murdered in the centre of Moscow – have been recently added to the list of victims of political reprisals which includes Dmitry Kholodov, Larissa Yudina, Yuri Schekochikhin, Nikolai Girenko, Paul Khlebnikov, Anna Politkovskaya and Farid Babayev. All these people were murdered so that to be silenced. There are grounds to presume that the authorities turn a blind eye on killings of the dissenting, and probably, they are even shielding the murderers.
None of the political murder cases have been solved yet. On the contrary, it is obvious that public resonance on these crimes is conscientiously curbed and there are attempts to limit such resonance and lower the significance of such dramatic events, as well as implication of the developments leading to such murders. We are absolutely and categorically demanding that urgent and efficient investigation of political murders and crimes arising out of national and racial hatred should be undertaken.
Such demands have been emerging throughout the past 15 years. However, the number of cynical and impudent crimes has been only growing. This demonstrates that the current developments are not incidental, and that the rising violence is not a mere consequence of corruption and professional inability of the authorities. This is a system-based phenomenon representing one of the inherent elements of Russia’s criminal political regime.
The situation in the society, the organisation of power, the nature of adopted political decisions, the style of policies and the artificial and intentionally developed moral and political climate testify that Russia has been conscientiously restoring the worst methods of state governance based on physical violence, judicial and extrajudicial persecutions out of political and nationalistic motives.
Nationalist policies of the authorities led to an unprecedented mass-scale outburst of street xenophobia and culminated in 122 murders past year. Only for the first two weeks of 2009 Moscow has witnessed 15 attacks based on national hatred. The outcome was as follows: ten persons dead and nine were severely injured.
Aiming at preservation and development of this criminal political regime the authorities act as an information monopolist cultivating violence, promulgating unbridled chauvinism while simultaneously devaluating any alternative development strategies or prospects for a change of the present system and completely liquidating any meaningful public political discussion.
The technology of public opinion manipulations was launched ten years ago, it led to immense public indifference and sometimes even unhidden sympathies to political murders and manifestations of nationalism. Television has been deliberately used for lulling, and mind “relaxation”, maintenance of regular variety shows and “cool talk shows”. Such buffoonery of minds allows for a situation when Stalinism and Bolshevism together with nationalism and xenophobia are openly promulgated as “traditionalism”.
Law and Constitution are arbitrarily changed to keep them in line with the interests of the ruling group. In addition, an imitation parliament and imitation justice naturally leads to a situation when the country absolutely lacks the rule of law.
A one party system, monopoly on mass media, absence of independent legal sources of financing, independent judicial system and lack of open and competitive elections make all legal efforts of oppositional political groups, human rights and civil organisations aiming at ensuring observation of human rights and implementation of laws, extremely inefficient and hardly noticeable in the Russian political life.
Russia’s history knew such a regime. Today it has emerged as a modified Stalin’s system where secret services and punitive bodies virtually act as the supreme power and a backstop. This is a political regime where the real power in the country is totally controlled by secret services and is exercised via controllable Public Prosecutor’s Office, judicial system and law-enforcement agencies. “Informal” groups for suppression of the dissenting are either encouraged or created with the help of the authorities. The system of bandit capitalism equipped with elements of Stalinism turned into police capitalism.
Perhaps implementation of these policies has not yet reached its previous scope and sometimes even looks like a mockery, but this does not erode its essence. Furthermore, thousands of people who in the situation of sheer lawlessness are daily getting into reprisal machinery do not suffer less simply because their number has not yet reached millions as it used to be some day. These developments do not become less dangerous merely because spy mania and search for enemies are essentially foolish. Real people do get real punishment terms on foolish charges.
Many Russian citizens fall into apathy, lose faith in Russia’s future, and the fate of Anastasiya Baburova’s generation causes great concern.
We can not put up with this!
We, the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO, being fully aware of the present situation and our limited possibilities, observing snowballing nationalism, xenophobia and open fascism are certain that cardinal and fundamental change in the essence, priorities and mechanisms of the present political regime is vitally important for millions of our compatriots.
We think that the present situation is conditioned not only by the errors and crimes of the policies of 1990s, but also has a historic basis under it – the lack of real understanding of and, consequently, inability to overcome Stalinism and Bolshevism. Stalinism and Bolshevism can not be treated simply as facts of our history, allowing for different assessments and interpretations depending on one’s social experience and political views. The essential feature of Bolshevism, as well as another authoritarian ideology of the 20th century – fascism – is negation of traditional morals, adherence to the “end justifies the means” principle, denial of the value of human life and justification of any quantity of human victims at present for the sake of building an “ideal” society in the future.
Stalinism has not turned a distant history of our country yet. In many ways it represents the essence of the present system of governance. Furthermore, Joseph Stalin in school textbooks is characterised as an “efficient manager”, as recognition of the criminal nature of Stalin’s regime would mean that many high officials and their present methods are also criminal and unconstitutional. Overcoming Stalinism first and foremost implies a fundamental change of the present political regime and a law-governed state.
Uprooting Stalinism and bolshevism in Russia must be carried out just as deeply and responsibly as denazification after the Second World War. The past twenty years of Russian reforms demonstrate that it is impossible to progress without this.
We are calling for all the intelligent Russian citizens who are aware of the threat Russia is facing in the short term to join their efforts in resisting and preventing the final assertion of the authoritarian bureaucratic regime of the Stalinist type the governance methods of which merge power and property and base on absolute personal dependence.
The Political Committee recommends to the Party Bureau, regional branches and factions of the Party to exert every effort to conduct a special campaign targeted at raising public awareness of dangers and malignancy of Bolshevism, Stalinism and nationalism for our nation.
The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO believes that it is necessary to undertake the following steps:
1. To publicly examine at the level of state and give a clear and explicit legal, political and moral assessment to the forcible seizure of power performed by the Bolsheviks in 1917 – 1918, the nature and the essence of their political regime and its further functioning, in particular, the terrorist policies of the country leaders of that time and, first of all, of the general ideologist and supreme organiser of the terror – Joseph Stalin, as well as all the definite crimes (murders, arrests, deportations of civilians on political, ethnic, religious and other grounds) made in that period. We are certain that acts of terror of that period should be regarded as crimes against humanity.
2. To clearly and explicitly determine the sphere of legal succession for modern Russia. Modern Russia is the legal successor of the Russian state which existed before Bolsheviks’ coup of 1917. Russian people did not elect either the Bolsheviks or Stalin by means of free election. The Bolsheviks usurped the power, dismissed the Constituent Assembly elected by means of general direct and equal election, suppressed the resistance and maintained control over the country with the help of terror raised to the level of state policies.
Forcibly built Bolsheviks’ dictatorship suspended natural historic development of our country for dozens of years, and isolated Russia from the European way of development. Modern Russia should not and can not turn down all that was created by the Russian people for these seventy years. It is indisputable for us that all the achievements of these years result from huge efforts made by definite people: builders of the White Sea – Baltic Canal and Magnitogorsk, soldiers and officers who won a victory over fascism, peasants catering for the front and workers servicing for the army, those who created a nuclear shield for our motherland and constructed spaceships, great writers, composers, artists, actors and sportsmen. All this took place owing to the courage and splendour of the nation despite the totalitarian system. The victory over fascism is a heroic deed of the nation that must not be diminished by speculations about the effectiveness of the general fear of NKVD blocking forces.
A modern Russian state, as all other independent states emerging on the territory of the former USSR, does not undertake any legal liabilities, including those in the field of international law and financial liability, for the acts of unlawful Bolshevik regime. However, until we’ll have given explicit governmental assessment to the Bolshevik crimes (red terror, forced collectivization leading to a tragic outcome, mass-scale reprisals, Katyn, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, annexing of the Baltic states and other crimes) and finally disrupt from the unlawful forced regime – modern Russia will be associated both inside the country and abroad with Stalin’s USSR.
3. Once and for all we should define the identity of Russia as a European country fully adherent to the values of the European civilization of the post-war period maintaining the best traditions of the great Russian culture and the Russian way of life.
4. To conduct complex measures targeted at eradication of the Stalinist-Bolshevik system of governance. To adopt measures ensuring irrevocable abolishment of the “end justifies the means” principle and making human life and human dignity the prime value for all the state policies. Bureaucrats of any level who publicly praise or advocate Stalin should not be permitted to further hold their posts. Justification of mass-scale reprisals, murder of millions of innocent people is a crime which should be included into the Criminal Code. Denial of the fact of mass-scale reprisals and actions targeted at elimination of social groups and nations should be also regarded as a crime of the same type. Modern Russia should not have organisations that are or call themselves successors of VKP(b) [the Bolsheviks’ party] – the CPSU and ChK-GPU-NKVD-MGB – KGB. Many centuries of Russian statehood can not be reduced to the heritage of those brutal organisations, they have no place in our life and our future.
5. To implement in practice a broad public awareness programme objectively showing the history of our country in the 20th century. Clear and explicit qualification of the crimes of the Bolshevik and communist regimes should be included into the educational standard, and school textbooks recommended by the state agencies for use in schools should be amended accordingly. The history of Soviet terror should become not only mandatory and substantial part of the secondary education, but also encourage serious efforts in the field of education in the broader sense of the word. There is a need in educational and cultural programmes covering this topic for state television channels, state support in publication of academic and popular works, as well as memoirs devoted to the era of terror are also required.
6. To conduct consistent policies of elimination of names of the state figures who organised and actively participated in the terror from the names of cities and towns, streets and squares. Toponymics can not further remain a zone for memorializing criminals. All the Bolsheviks’ and Stalin’s symbols and influence should be withdrawn from public institutions, cultural and social life.
We are well aware that the present authorities will not realise even a part of this programme and will fiercely fight against all who may support it. We are ready to a situation when a large number of our compatriots may consider the important things we are talking about unimportant, not urgent or untimely.
Vladimir Putin’s party, communists, nationalistic and fascist forces are directly interested in a situation when such topics are not discussed any more. They call honest attitude to our history a “slander” disrupting the unity of the nation and damaging national resurgence.
We understand why it is so: many of them employ in their every day life the experience of the Soviet-Stalin’s system, revive it with regard to the present situation and virtually openly wish to become its successors, followers and guardians.
We are absolutely sure that Russia has no future without complete and absolute refusal from the modern modification of the Soviet-Stalin’s system in the form of post-Soviet authoritarian regime. In this case it will be doomed to a breakdown, the loss of a considerable part of territories, blood-shed and the disappearance from the world political arena.
Honest attitude toward this problem is vitally important for all who are not indifferent to Russia’s fate because without this we won’t be able to avoid the previous errors and grow up, responsibly build up our life, learn how to control the authorities, form an up-to-date political culture, maintain and develop it both for oneself and in the society in general.
The most important lesson of the past twenty years demonstrates that the lack of consistent fight against Stalin’s and Bolsheviks’ system in our state led all of us to our present problems, deadlocks and tragedies.
Another lesson of our history shows that our true in-depth problem is connected not only with the generic defects of the Russian governance. The ruling class and the political elite are what we allow them to be. We, the citizens, the entire nation, are obviously responsible for what has been happening to us, in spite of the fact whatever suppressed and browbeaten we have been. Russia is doomed to getting into new tragic traps unless we realise this, understand and accept this.
We think that today it has become absolutely clear that those who are in power are absolutely deprived on any moral and political guidance, moreover reactionism of their actions during the present crisis will be rapidly growing, so we should loudly and clearly speak about the issues that are central to the present life and future of our country.
History proves that building a democratic law-abiding state in Russia is possible only if the Bolshevik’s and Stalin’s system and its elements are completely and ultimately withdrawn from our life. This should become a joint programme for all the responsible political forces in Russia.
Our Party believes that the purpose of our participation in politics and our fight for power should be implementation of this programme.