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Anti-Crisis Proposals of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO

Handed to President Medvedev by Sergei Mitrokhin on June 11, 2009
June 30, 2009

To President of the Russian Federation
Dmitry Medvedev

The YABLOKO party expresses its concern over the development of substantial negative trends in the country and society. According to the recent data published in the Russian media over 35% of the polled Russian citizens would like their children to change their citizenship. This is attributed to the fact that there has been no progress in Russia in terms of freedom and justice, moreover, independence of the court and the parliament has been curbed, presidential term has been considerably enlarged, state-owned electronic media have continued being propaganda instruments enhancing xenophobia and intolerance in the society and economic strategy has been replaced by the wait-and-see policies. A gap between the authority and the citizens has grown, corruption and bureaucratic arbitrary rule has considerably increased power and money have turned into decisive factors.

An outer picture of a relative stability should not deceive us: it has been achieved by archaic governing methods based on imitation and propaganda, rather than on solution of problems. This is connected with deeply-rooted problems of the Russian government and the society that have emerged many decades ago and that have been lasting still. In particular, Russia lacks not only division of powers, but even elementary division of proxies at power bodies on all the levels.

In our opinion, decisive and urgent measures for drastic break up of these extremely dangerous trends are required.

We proceed from the fact that Russia needs diversification of both its economy and politics. This requires a decisive and at the same time well-balanced and responsible position of the countrys leadership. Diversification can not be conducted via paternalistic methods. And the main efforts of the government should be targeted at encouragement of the legitimate initiatives of the citizens. It is impossible to amend everything at once. However, there are important and extremely sensible spheres of life, where active and well-considered actions could change the attitudes for the better and socially and politically mobilize and unite Russias citizens.

At the first stage we would offer the following large-scale measures that would incite trust and interest in the citizens and simultaneously would allow to conduct active anti-crisis economic policies.

1. Housing, Roads and Land Political Project

Proceeding from the real political situation and deficit of time, as well as from what has been already done for the support of the banking system and the rouble, we propose to transfer to the extraordinary (as of their scope) national policies targeted at encouragement of domestic demand. We should considerably push up the final demand and link it with the intermediate demand, which would encourage growth of the whole economy.

Keeping this goal in mind we should begin mass-scale housing construction under the slogan Housing for Every Family. Financing of this project should be carried out from all possible sources from reserve and budget funds. At least 75 per cent of available (as of August 1, 2009) state resources should go to this goal. Investments into construction of housing in the next seven years should exceed over 50 per cent of all investments into Russia.

The government has the capacity to allot at least 14 trillion roubles for construction of housing, roads and required infrastructure. This means approximately 1.8 bln sq m of housing which will allow for provision of housing for 14 mln families, 130 sq m of housing per a family on the average.

We also propose to conduct mass-scale transfer of land into private property under construction of houses (a house per a family with children), as well as commercial and municipal apartment blocks. Simultaneously it is necessary to strengthen legislative property title guarantees for land and real estate, and cancel legal possibilities for depriving some owners of such title and transferring it to the other. Raider attacks and self-willed seizure of lands should be firmly curbed. The programme envisages change of subsidizing of housing construction, zoning principles in construction of cities and accelerated completion of the system of cadastral record keeping.

The programme envisages state investment into provision of gas, electricity and water supply, construction of roads, repair of bridges and dams, development of transport infrastructure, construction of new public facilities and schools.

Investments into construction of housing will help to maintain the present number of jobs, as well as create new enterprises ensuring economic growth.

Construction of housing which is of huge social importance for Russias population plays at present the role of the sole and key potential engine capable of putting the whole national economy in motion and it is necessary to put it in motion now.

Strategically the main driving force for Russias economy in the nearest perspective should be comprehensive improvement of living conditions of the majority of the population, significant raising of the level of the comfort of living and modern economic development of our Eastern territories, first of all, via construction of housing and roads.

The party thinks that Russia has a chance not only to overcome the crisis, but also to solve a historical task to improve living conditions of a multimillion nation and to provide housing for a considerable number of the needy. The government promised to solve this problem many times, but today we need and for the first time in decades have an opportunity to make economic policies serve the interests of the nation.

Provision of modern houses to the families will become a decisive factor in changing public attitudes for the better, will provide real, rather than imaginary, stability and lay the basis for economic growth and development.

2. Five Steps Toward Curbing Corruption

1). Creation of an inter-party public council of political parties for systematic anti-corruption amending of the law, and submitting proposals on the candidates to the key posts in the law enforcement bodies.
2). Introduction of public control not only over officials revenues, but also over their expenditures. In case it is detected that expenditures exceed the revenues, the official should be banned from keeping state posts lifelong. Amendments should be introduced into laws allowing for corruption probes of the state servants; those failing the probes should be dismissed.
3). Honest professionals, as well as representatives of the opposition, who were occupying state posts for quite a long time in 1990s (including deputies posts) and were not associated with corrupt practices, did not accumulate personal savings or wealth, or participated in criminal privatization and creation of corruption schemes, should be engaged in state and law enforcement bodies at the key posts.
4). Optimisation of the state apparat structure should be conducted by means of stuff reduction, the least professional and industrious workers should be dismissed, and remuneration and the salary part in the total pay for the rest should be raised.
5) Introduction of the system which would allow to the citizens to safely report on the facts of blackmailing on behalf of the officials and their way of life demonstrating revenues considerably exceeding their official salaries, but at the same time it should not be used for libel, score-settling and paralisation of work of the officials.

3. Protection of Social and Economic Rights of the Citizens

Aiming at protection of economic and social rights of the citizens, as well as reduction of pressure on the economy during the crisis we should adopt a law on transparency of tariffs of natural monopolies that should be deprived of the immunity they get under the law on the state secret together with other organisations recipients of the state aid, obliging them to publish regular financial reports on their current performance in the Internet. The text of the draft law is enclosed herein.

The share of small and medium-scale businesses controlling income generating property should be increased. This requires focusing of attention on property support of small-scale business, announcing a small-scale privatization campaign. To this end a number of present laws should get direct action (for example, law 159-FZ), abolishing mediation of regional authorities: preferential terms of privatization should spread onto land plots, a network of peoples markets controlled by communities of small business entities rather than individual owners should be established; leasehold rights should be stable; easier transfer to simplified fiscal regimes should be ensured.

A provisional commission composed out of representatives of different parties and public circles should be established for administrative examination of claims and complaints of the citizens on unlawful actions of state officials and agencies referring to property and social rights of the citizens.

A Concept of family policy of the Russian Federation for the period until 2025 targeted at considerable improvement and increase of accessibility of education, family medicine, childrens pre-school institutions, overcoming of homelessness among children and violence against children should be adopted.

National Public Council for modernization and development of infrastructure of the country should be created for protection of the countrys unity. Consensus of political forces and regions in the issues of infrastructure development within the framework of a single minimum standard is required. Results here are extremely important for overcoming stagnation and prevention of strategically dangerous recessions.

We also think that serious changes in foreign and domestic policies of the Russian state are required. Modernisation of Russia is incompatible with comprehensive increase of paternalism, reactionary Eurasian ideology, it is possible only within the framework of the European way of development of Russia.

Housing, Roads, Land
Further Anti-Corruption Measures
On Measures for Provision of Transparency and Reduction of Growth of Tariffs of Natural Monopolies
Support of small and medium-scale business
Mass-scale violations of human rights
Decision of YABLOKOs Political Committee On Russias Foreign Policies
Childrens Rights

Sergei Mitrokhin,
Chairman, the YABLOKO party,
Sergei Ivanenko,
member of the Political Committee, the YABLOKO party,
Grigory Yavlinsky,
member of the Political Committee, the YABLOKO party

June 30, 2009