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THE DEMOCRATIC MANIFESTO

Óf the Russian Democratic Party Yabloko, adopted by the
10th Congress of Yabloko

Moscow, December 22, 2001

THE DEMOCRATIC MANIFESTO

of the Russian Democratic Party Yabloko, adopted by the
10th Congress of Yabloko

Moscow, December 22, 2001

††††††††††† We, the citizens of Russia, have joined the Russian Democratic Party Yabloko (RDP Yabloko) to work by legal means to establish in Russia a contemporary law-based social state, form an effective market economy and emerge a civil society.

OUR GOAL IS TO ESTABLISH A FREE, PROSPEROUS AND STRONG RUSSIA

Our goal is to establish a democratic and flourishing Russia, a powerful country capable of :

††††††††††† *maintaining its integrity and unity;

††††††††††† *creating a world-standard educational and public health system within everybodyís reach;

††††††††††† *preserving and multiplying our great culture;

††††††††††† *overcoming the profound demographic crisis;

††††††††††† *competing with leading countries on an equal footing;

††††††††††† *and joining the European Union and other political, economic and defensive European organizations as an equal member.

†† ††††††††

THE STATE EXISTS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL

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††††††††††† Human dignity and respect for the individual and the family must be asserted as the essential foundation of the socio-political and political system of Russia. All individuals have a right to freedom, prosperity, security and the opportunity to develop their abilities. The state is no more than a tool to attain these goals. The state exists to serve the citizen and not to sacrifice him for abstract ideas. Our principle is: the state exists for the individual: the individual does not exist for the state.†

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† FREEDOM AND JUSTICE

††††††††††† Freedom is the same absolute value as human life. The people of Russia have suffered enough for their right to freedom. Only a free Russia can assure the prosperity and security of its citizens and enable the country to develop dynamically in the 21st century. Freedom cannot survive in a society that does not strive for justice. Such a society is doomed to division between those whose freedom is backed by material wealth and those whose freedom implies merely a state of devastating poverty. Such a division may result either in social upheavals or a dictatorship of the privileged minority. Justice demands that we strive not only for equal rights for citizens, but also for equal opportunities so that the individual can realize his/her abilities. Justice should also guarantee a worthy existence for the less fortunate.

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THE OUTCOME OF RADICAL REFORMS

††††††††††† The end of the 20th century was highlighted by the collapse of the communist system. The first steps were taken to establish the rule of law and a market economy. But the opportunity for a historical breakthrough was not seized.

††††††††††† The policy of change pursued over the past ten years was based on a mixture of self-serving interest and vulgar economic approaches that had been rejected by Europe and other countries in their socio-economic and intellectual development.

††††††††††† Renunciation of the principle of social justice culminated in a decline in the living standards of most Russians, subjugating a considerable segment of the population to life in poverty. The resulting abrupt social stratification is evidenced by the lack of a middle class as guarantor of stable democracy. Failure to fulfill their social obligations to the population, and the simultaneous privatization of the national wealth by a narrow circle of individuals and the state authorities has split our society into a prosperous minority and defeated majority. The test of savage capitalism has failed education, public health, science and culture.

††††††††††† At the same time, the state reneged on its immediate obligations of creating legal, social, and economic institutions in Russia that befit a modern society and free market. The legal vacuum contributed to an escalation in crime in the Russian economy. Business merged with the state structures, paving the way for a rapid growth in corruption, and laying the foundations for an oligarchic system in todayís Russia.

AUTHORITARIAN RULE IS FRAUGHT WITH THE DANGER OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A THIRD-WORLD COUNTRY

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††††††††††† The economic and political failures of the past decade discredited democratic, liberal and market values among most Russians. The absence of massive and conscious support for democratic institutions, the latterís underdevelopment and inefficiency, and the unlimited opportunities to manipulate public opinion stimulated the temptation of the governing elite to establish a bureaucratic authoritarian system in Russia serving the interests of a small minority. Control over information media and election procedures and to a considerable extent the governmentís economic policy are serving these interests. Attempts to construct an authoritarian system in Russia are leading the country to bureaucratic stagnation, irreversible backwardness, and final transformation into a Third World country.

†††††††††††

DEMOCRACY IS VITALLY IMPORTANT FOR RUSSIA

†††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† Democracy is vitally important for Russia, as it protects the dignity of the individual to a greater degree than any other political regime. This advantage makes it the most competitive form of political arrangement in the post-industrial world, where human resources are the chief development factor. Only democracy:

†††††††††††††††††††† *secures the maximum freedom for an exchange of ideas and the spread of information, without which it is impossible to establish a 21st-century information society;

††††††††††††††††††††††† *furthers the development of a civic society and independent political parties capable of controlling the government and preventing isolation and stagnation;

††††††††††††††††††††††† *achieves the principle of a division and mutual control of the powers, which is the most effective means against the bureaucratic degradation of the state.

††††††††††† Stable democracy in Russia is an imperative, as the essential catalyst for dynamic development in the 21st century.†††††

THE NEW DEMOCRATIC COURSE

††††††††††† The new democratic course proclaimed by the Russian Democratic Party Yabloko is based on a revision of past vulgar approaches and a clear conception of future tasks. This course is based on modern liberal-social ideology, with the goal of establishing a stable democratic order, implying the rule of law, a social market economy, civic society, modern security system and post-industrial strategy mirroring European development.

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LIBERALISM FOR ALL

††††††††††† A free society can only be constructed if it meets the interests of the majority. It is the stateís duty to create a situation where the maximum possible number of citizens reap the fruits of freedom. Not only the rich and strong, but also the poor and weak have a right to freedom. The latter must have a chance to gain this freedom. This is the distinction of contemporary social liberalism from its radical 19th century version. The social liberalism of the 21st century is targeted at implementing reforms in the interest of all of Russiaís citizens, rather than the prosperous minority.

††††††††††† It is necessary to revise the vulgar approaches to reform in view of the scale of social stratification and imbalances in our countryís regional development, factors which pose are a threat to its unity in future. A civilized distribution of the national income must have the same priority in state policy as its growth.

††††††††††† We aim to establish a society of equal opportunities based on the principles of social justice and social solidarity of the strong and weak. In other words, as well as the liberation of private initiative, a robust system of social support is a crucial condition for the existence of a free society in Russia.

A free society can only be created in a stable political system that rules out all abuse and presupposes the stateís active role in maintaining economic order in order to achieve prosperity for everybody. The market is not an aim in itself, but rather a means of securing freedom and sufficiency for all Russiaís citizens. The state must steer the free market to attain social objectives, and not try to coerce it to obtain such goals. †††††††††††††

RULE OF LAW

The Russian Democratic Party Yabloko is a party of constitutional democracy. To create a democratic rule of law in Russia, one needs merely to abide by all the principles of the present Constitution. Today in Russia there is a danger of restrictions on:

*equality before the law and the court through selective application of the law for political purposes and owing to the courtís dependence on the executive authorities;

*election rights of citizens through the use of administrative resources and extensive opportunities for falsifying elections;††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

* freedom of speech and the press through various forms of pressure on information media that displease the authorities;

freedom of association and citizenís societies through attempts to control them;

* freedom of enterprise through aggressive actions by the unwieldy and corrupt bureaucratic apparatus;

* right of ownership through political pressure on some categories of proprietors;

* freedom of movement through vestiges of the totalitarian institution of registration;

* freedom of individual development through unequal access to education, health care and culture;

*guarantees of local government through abolition of its financial base and the administrative pressure of regional authorities.

The Russian Democratic Party Yabloko is seeking to ensure the exercise of these rights and freedoms in full, insisting that rule of law is impossible unless the authorities themselves abide by the law.

A SOCIAL MARKET

A social market is an organized economy whereby lawful regulation of the free market forces aims at achieving social results:

*the prosperity of all Russiaís citizens by ensuring access to goods distributed through the market;

* guarantees of a worthy existence if such access is futile.

The social market is a system where† the state creates institutions regulating the play of market forces without dictating its will. This European economic model presupposes a state policy in the following directions:

*guarantees for private property, protection of economic freedom, elimination of bureaucratic barriers to entrepreneurs, and protection of small and medium-sized businesses;

*creation of favourable conditions for all possible investments;

*active struggle against monopolism, maintenance of a competitive environment, stiff controls on tariffs of the natural monopolies;

*balancing the most drastic income differences by creating dependable systems of mandatory state insurance;

*combating poverty by reducing blatant social stratification;

*creating jobs and raising the incomes of the population;

*working to improve the quality and expanding access to education and health care.

This social market policy will result in:

*a general welfare state that is similar in† parameters to European standards;

*a powerful middle class;

*a system of European-type social insurance;

*a system of education meeting the standards and challenges of the 21st century;

*Russiaís accession to the group of the worldís economically advanced countries.†

 

A CIVIC SOCIETY

RDP Yabloko pursues a policy of active support and protection of civic society in the belief that diverse forms of self-organization of citizens contain enormous reserves for Russiaís social, economic and cultural development. A civic society emerges from a sense of †social responsibility, i.e., the citizenís attempts to settling his/her own problems and common problems independently or in cooperation with other citizens, instead of dumping them on the state. Social progress in Russia cannot be attained without a responsible civic society capable of criticizing and controlling the authorities and making them work in its interests. Russian society today is far removed from this goal. Before our eyes it is turning into a passive object of manipulation by the authorities. This blind alley leads the country to backwardness. We insist on ending such a policy. The state must not ďadministerĒ the voluntary associations of citizens, but support them and extend opportunities for participation in state issues.

 

SECURITY AND ANTI-TERRORISM

††††††††††† The tragic events of September 2001 compel us to approach the problem of security in a new way. We advocate Russiaís participation in a broad international coalition combating terrorism. While we concede the necessity of armed action against terrorism, we believe that the roots of this evil can be eliminated only by political means. The problem cannot be resolved solely by military means. Political efforts designed to reduce support for terrorists must supercede military action. This principle applies just as much to the situation in Chechnya situation as in other hotbeds of terrorism in the world.

††††††††††† The growing danger of terrorism increases significantly the demands on the special services. Their activity must be pursued based on the principle of civic guidance and rigid parliamentary and public controls. This is the only way to prevent anti-terrorism from being abused for other goals or becoming the pretext for political repressions. Yabloko also advocates military reform in the belief that Russiaís security in the new environment can only be assured by a highly paid professional army whose technical equipment is on a par with modern world standards.

A POSTINDUSTRIAL BREAKTHROUGH

††††††††††† In the world today Russia faces a considerable challenge: the country is compelled to catch up with the leading states at a time when they are advancing swiftly socially and economically owing to the new technological revolution. To avoid lagging further behind, we must concentrate all our efforts on forming a post-industrial economic structure and an information society. The three areas of intellectual activity --- education, science and high technology --- must be recognized at government level as the most important resources of Russiaís development. These resources have a powerful potential which can yield fruit if science, the higher school, and high-technology industry unite to form a single knowledge economy.

RUSSIAíS EUROPEAN ORIENTATION

††††††††††† Russia is a European country by virtue of its historical destiny, cultural traditions, and geographic location. Its future is indissolubly connected with Europe. The Russian nationís potential can only be realized through creative assimilation of the values of European civilization, which has benefited substantially from Russiaís culture. For Russian citizens European orientation means an increase in prosperity approaching European standards through the formation in our country of a European socio-economic, environmental and political model; this will also boost Russiaís economic integration with the European Union. The interests of our national security also require such integration. Within the setting of the global challenges of the 21st century, Russia and Europe can survive only if they are together.

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PATRIOTISM IN DEEDS

††††††††††† Yabloko is a party of people who advocate a strong state, provided that the interests of the state do not prevail over those of the individual. We advocate a strong state in the service of its citizens. Yabloko is a party of patriots. But not of the kind that prods the country towards isolation and nationalist insanity. Russiaís national interests have nothing in common with any great-power myth. For us, to be a patriot is not to endlessly proclaim oneís patriotism, but to work for the good of the country and its citizens. Our patriotism is one of deeds, not words.

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OUR SOCIAL CONTRACT

†††††††††††

Yabloko is a civic party. We represent the interests of Russian citizens and assume responsibility before them for anything we do. The burgeoning middle class represent our social support. If we win executive power, we will assume the following obligations:

††††††††††† * put an end to the falsification of elections at all levels;

††††††††††† * halt capital flight;

††††††††††† * triple the volume of investments in the economy;

††††††††††† * eliminate the economic causes of corruption;

* raise minimum wages and salaries to the subsistence† minimum;

††††††††††† *reduce by two-thirds the number of Russians living below the poverty line;

* double the part of the GDP allocated to pension payments;

*repay out foreign debt of the USSR;

††††††††††† *stop the war in Chechnya, while preserving Russiaís integrity,

* transfer fully to the establishment of a professional army,

* place all force structures under the control of society;

and finally,

††††††††††† TO MAKE RUSSIA A COMFORTABLE AND

††††† ATTRACTIVE COUNTRY OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES.†††

 

Moscow, December 22, 2001

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