Adopted by the Political Committee of the Russian
United Democratic Party YABLOKO. Resolution No 16 of September
Respected Dmitry Anatolyevich,
The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO at meeting of
its Political Committee taking place on September 26, 2009,
adopted a decision to respond to your invitation to a discussion
and address you on the problems touched upon in your article
“Forward, Russia!” Our view, as well as yours, can not claim
being absolutely complete and inarguable, however, our long-term
experience make us express our views in an explicit from,
probably, partially reiterating what we have been stating
We think that your article provides many correct assessments
and we can agree in general with the goals you set for Russia.
We absolutely agree with the need for Russia develop in a
democratic way, on the danger of corruption, rapprochement
of the interests of a person, the society and the state, on
economic modernization and that the well-being of a country
should base “on the intellectual rather than raw material
resources”. You absolutely correctly stress the need to renovate
the political system in a “free competition of open political
parties and movements” and “civilised political competition”.
We also agree with the task of “harmonization of relations
with Western democracies”, use of their financial and technological
resources, as well as their political experience of creation
of democratic institutions (certainly without mechanical copying
of them and with regard to the Russian national traditions).
You are right in noting that the roots of corruption lie
in the “excess presence of the state in all the noticeable
spheres of economic or other public activity”, and that “paternalistic
moods” are widely spread in the society, which “leads to the
lack on initiative, deficit of new ideas, unsolved problems
and low quality of public discussion, criticism inclusive.”
Your warning that “influential groups of corrupt officials
and idle entrepreneurs" will hamper in our work sounds
We are not going to insist on a priority in proposing these
ideas, though the YABLOKO faction in the State Duma and the
YABLOKO party after it was ousted from the Duma by means of
rough manipulations during elections in 2003 have been saying
this for all the past years. Copyright does not matter here.
We are really glad when other politicians, parties, the expert
community and, moreover, President of the Russian Federation
agree with us.
However, we see different key problems arising in connection
with your bright and sharp article.
First, there is a question who is the target audience of
your programme address.
Second, even taking into account the sharpness and openness
of the article the lack of explicitly on a number of principled
topics is glaring, and, consequently, the reader gets a feeling
that the text is equivocal allowing for absolutely different
and arbitrary interpretations depending on the intentions.
Third, your article does not provide an explanation to the
fact why practical steps of the Russian authorities often
do not have anything in common with its fine words, and often
even oppose them.
Fourth, making a diagnosis and determining the goals of curing
the illnesses you often ignore the ways and means of such
cure. And what is proposed raises doubts and sometimes looks
as an attempt to avoid complicated and unpleasant topics.
Let us examine these issues in order.
Concerning the target audience of the article. If the target
audience is the entire Russian nation or, in any case, its
most progressive part of Internet users, then our citizens
can hardly actively participate in the tasks set by you. They
have to live accommodating to the “proposed conditions”: poverty
and economic uncertainty, growing unemployment, ultimate power
and corruption of bureaucracy on all the levels, tacit censorship
in the electronic mass media, manipulations with elections,
irresponsibility of the business, arbitrary rule and criminalization
of siloviki (Ed. the military, the interior and secret services),
etc. It is the authorities that create such conditions for
the people. Lawful possibilities for the society to influence
the authorities, say, via elections on all the levels, access
to objective information, demonstrations and picketing, have
been considerably curbed for the past years. Simply calls
to observe the law, pay taxes, not to give or take bribes,
observe traffic rules, not to abuse alcohol and not to steal
are unlikely to produce an effect. Especially when authorities
of different levels give opposite examples of their behaviour.
If the article addresses the new ruling class – a merger
of business and corrupt bureaucracy headed by the top state
oligarchy – it would be naive to expect that this class would
accept the reproaches and calls and would begin acting against
its own interests.
If you are addressing oppositional democratic parties and
public organisations that have real support in the society,
rather than those created by the Kremlin political technologists
as decorations, the former have been toughly pressed and marginalized
for the past decade. This was done through toughening of election
laws, the administrative resource, depriving them of access
to the electronic mass media, criminal persecutions and sometimes
And finally if your article is simply a heartfelt cry, many
people would sympathise with you, but this is unlikely to
produce a practical result.
About the lack of explicitness. You and your predecessor
in the Kremlin, to say nothing of the oppositional parties,
as well as representatives of the party of power, have been
speaking about the glaring problems of our country. You have
been writing about them quite eloquently: “Thus, inefficient
economy, semi-Soviet social sphere, an immature democracy,
negative demographic trends, an unstable Caucasus. These are
very big problems even for such a state as Russia.”
However, where is the straight-talk analysis of the causes,
which, as you admit, conditioned that “we have not done all
that was needed in the past years, and we have not done everything
correctly”? It is hard to believe that simply some politicians
and bureaucrats have been honestly mistaken, allowing for
errors or not completing their work and that they will improve
soon. The matter is different: a certain political system
of governing determining the present problems and illnesses
of the society has developed in Russia. It is impossible to
change this system thus amending the present situation without
honest labeling of the system defects. All this will be reduced
to well-known velleities which the ruling class is turning
a deaf ear to (by way this quite falls within our national
Further there are also issues where hints or evasive phraseological
constructions are inadmissible. You write, “We should stick
to a realistic view of our past. We should see both grandiose
victories and tragic errors, examples to follow and manifestation
of the best traits of the national character. In any case
we shall be attention to our history and shall respect it…
Russia has always and at all stages of its development strived
for a fair world order.”
In view of this a question arises on your principled position
on the most cardinal problem – Stalinism and its influence
on the history of our country, on the disgraceful and destructive
developments of its present restoration at tacit encouragement
of the authorities of all levels. Here we speak not about
“tragic errors”, but about crimes against humanity, genocide
and war crimes of Joseph Stalin and his clique. Ruled by Stalin,
Molotov, Kaganovich, Yagoda, Yezhov and Beriya Russia did
not strive for any “fair world order” even if it justified
its course with such slogans! The same refers to the inner
stagnation of the Brezhnev era, unprecedented militarization
and outer expansion in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In
addition, even the present apologists of those policies openly
admire it as building of a empire.
Stalinism is such a principled topic, that no one-moment
concepts of domestic or foreign policies can justify tortuosity
and lack of clarity. We have been unpleasantly stricken that
you did not react when a line from Stalin’s national anthem
glorifying the “leader of the nations” emerged in the centre
of Moscow in the interior of the Kurskaya metro station; that
you gave no comment on rehabilitation of Joseph Stalin in
school programmes, textbooks and teachers’ manuals, as well
as to snowballing neo-Stalinism at the federal television
channels; that you did not speak up about pre-war history
(Ed. The history of the USSR before Hitler’s attack on June
22, 1941). Here we are speaking about your personal political
and moral position rather than complicated manoeuvring in
The Decree “On the Commission Under the President of the
Russian Federation for Interaction of Falsification of History
in Detriment to Russia’s Interests” signed by you arises bewilderment
at the very least. The very title of the decree is quite awkward.
It shows that falsifications are in fact admissible if they
are not detrimental for Russia or if they do good for the
country. In addition it is unclear who and on what grounds
will determine the facts of falsification. It is unclear how
it can be opposed from the point of view of the Constitution,
the Criminal Code and the Criminal Proceedings Code. Are we
returning to the Soviet canonical version of the history (with
its periodical zigzags) or are we going to punish for any
deviations from it?
In terms of an illustration we would like to remind you that
information on the secret Molotov - Ribbentrop pact of 1939,
shooting of over 20,000 of Polish officers- prisoners of war
– in Khatyn, mass-scale executions by ChK, NKVD and SMERSH
were considered in the USSR as falsifications for a long time.
Information on deportation of entire nations, crimes during
collectivization of farmers, etc. was concealed and distorted.
These facts were recognised later on.
Such Soviet politicians as Trotsky, Bukharin, Kamenev and
Zinoviev at first were “revolution leaders and Lenin’s close
associates”, then they turned into “enemies of the nation
and foreign spies”, and later “innocent victims of Stalin’s
reprisals”. It became clear with time that they were accomplices
in the October upheaval and initiators of the fratricidal
civil war, liquidators of whole social groups of the Russian
people and they shared the destiny of the victims of the monster
they themselves created.
Some assess the Soviet-German pact of August 23, 1939, (and
obviously the secret protocol to it and September 1939 treaty
of friendship with Hitler’s regime) as a wise and justified
step of Joseph Stalin which postponed the war for two years.
We think that all these treaties with the Nazis were immoral
and criminal towards Poland and the Baltic states. They largely
predetermined the tragic events of the early period of the
Great Patriotic War (Ed. That is how the Second World War
is called in Russia from the moment of Hitler’s attack on
the USSR) with innumerable disasters for the Soviet people.
References to shortsighted and even cynical behaviour of the
Western leaders taking place before the Soviet-German treaties
can neither explain nor justify these crimeful policies.
We can give even more examples, however, the senselessness
at the best and the fatal nature at the worst of the law signed
by you is obvious for YABLOKO.
We are expecting complete clarity and determinancy from you
here. To say nothing of the moral and historical aspects of
the issue, as you should realise that all you attractive plans
and economic, social, technological and political goals sharply
contrast with restoration of Stalinism in any form both in
the domestic and the foreign policy.
Words and actions. We are very much concerned that your correct
progressive statements at different forums sharply contrast
with the virtual policies of the state bodies. We are fully
aware here of complicated relations, obligations and different
restrictions in the top echelons of power. And not all good
intentions can be implemented at once, however, maybe in this
case one should first follow the “do not harm” principle,
like in the medicine?
Unfortunately, there are other examples of serious discrepancy
between words and actions in addition to the aforementioned
Decree on “falsification of history”.
You have been speaking much about democratization, however,
you introduces amendments to the Constitution (the first in
its history) on prolonging the terms of the President of the
State Duma. We should not explain to you, a professional lawyer,
that regular changing of the authorities is a universal and
fundamental principle of democracy. The Constitution has many
articles that need clarifications or amendments: contradictory
relations between the President, the Government and the parliament
(Articles 111 and 117); unreasonable order of formation of
the Federation Council (Article 95); unrealized procedure
of impeachment (Article 93); absence of parliamentary controlling
functions (Article 94), etc. However, the supreme federal
authorities began with prolongation of their term of office.
In spite of the fact that they did not provide any reasonable
grounds for such amendments, and the society naturally understood
the motives of this action as absolutely self-serving interests
of those at the top. We do not need to explain what example
the federal authority once again showed to the bureaucracy
of all levels and what signal it sent to the people.
If your want to fight against legal nihilism and teach our
compatriots to respect the law – then first stop the crazy
project of Okhta-Centre skyscraper in St.Petersburg (Ed. Okhta-Centre
is Gazprom’s project. Skyscrapers are not allowed in St.Petersburg
so that to preserve the historical look of the city, in case
the city does not comply with this norm, it will be expelled
from the UNESCO list of historical heritage), which they try
to build in violation of the City Building Code of St.Petersburg
having the force of a law. You, as no one else know the situation
in Gazprom, and obviously understand that it is irresponsible
to spend the funds of the company required for new fields
development and pipelines repairs on disfiguring the face
of your native city. Also we can not agree with the fact that
you did not consider it necessary to call the Moscow “vertical”
to order, those who implemented the shameful removal of oppositional
candidates running in single-mandate electoral districts in
the Moscow City Duma election this year. And no one in the
Kremlin managed to recollect during conflict in the Caucasus
in August 2008 that, according to the Constitution, approval
from the Federation Council is required for the use of Russian
armed forces abroad (article 102).
It is also clear for us that you should realise that legal
nihilism in our country, as most of other vices, begins from
the top. And we can not eliminate it as long as the authorities
think that it creates laws for its subjects but not for itself.
In your article “Forward, Russia!” you write about raising
of the role and independence of the court, the need to “eliminated
unlawful influence on the acts of the courts”, as well as
that “it is necessary to create normal conditions of work
for the present law-enforcement decisively getting rid of
the impostors”. Simply it looks like that the good guys should
dismiss the bad guys. We think that this represents either
a naive approach or avoiding of a most complex problem. Who
will “get rid of the impostors” and on what basis will they
determine such “impostors”? As corruption and the “telephone
rule” has penetrated the whole of the law-enforcement system
from top to bottom, and you do write about this in your article.
To give this system the key role in amending itself and in
fight with corruption would mean set the fox to mind the geese.
And we have been still observing this.
You write that “in the end the judicial system is capable
to find out what is in the interests of the state…” Respected
Dmitry Anatolyevich, no, it is not, and it is not its task.
Courts should rigorously obey the law, that’s it. If they
decide what is in the interests of the state and what is not,
we shall return to the “class-based legal consciousness”,
i.e. lawlessness. And to make our courts to impartially implement
the laws, they should be freed from their actual dependence
on the executive authorities of all the levels, and this requires
clear division of authorities and independence of the legislative
bodies, as well as maximum openness of information and complete
(within the framework of the law) freedom of the press. This
also constitutes the key prerequisite for reduction of cronyism
and criminalization of the law-enforcement system and the
army. However, the situation in this field has no improved,
but vise versa deteriorated. And neither by-pass ways and
technological solutions (like information technologies), nor
material incentives will be able to redeem this deterioration
and amend the matter.
Your close attention to corruption in our country is justified.
However, corruption which has become our national calamity
and unprecedented even for Russia, does not represent a painful
deviation from the norm. It is an inevitable and deeply rooted
element of the system created since the middle of 1990s, as
well as an absolutely logical consequence of immature market
economy (and filled with the petrodollars not so long ago)
and a centralized bureaucratic model of governing.
In the absence of any checks and balances the modern bureaucracy
has been constantly growing trying to maximally broaden its
power over the society and its “field of operations” via intricate
laws and norms and regulations. They make the life of the
citizens absolutely unbearable. The citizens can not protect
their rights neither in business, nor in the social sphere
or private life with observation of all these intricate formalities.
However, they are quickly prompted other easier “informal”
ways to solve their problems for bribes of different sizes
and forms – from good cognac to multimillion bribes.
Thus power on the levels is converted into money, and money
and corporate loyalty convert into even greater power. The
President can not win over this system by means of his personal
honesty and report of his family income (which the bureaucrats
have been openly laughing about). And no technological solutions
like the “electronic government” will help here. All this
is a self-deceit and an attempt to beat round about the most
complicated problem only seemingly solving it. No toughening
of punishments and snowballing controlling agencies will be
able to amend this. What is worse, these agencies, as well
as law-enforcement and judicial bodies are also damaged by
the metastases of corruption. Therefore, they are unable to
independently fight corruption and crime.
There is only one way to solve the problem in the conditions
of a more or less open market economy and non-totalitarian
political system. It is not our invention, and we should not
invent a wheel here. This way represents again sensible and
balanced division of powers which creates conditions for independent
court, arbitrary court and electoral commissions. This means
honest elections so that legislative institutions appropriately
reflect public interests, control, correct and restrict the
bureaucracy. This also means regular change of the top officials
without any exceptions. This means comprehensive development
of free media and law-abiding public organisations.
You correctly write about one of the keys for creation of
such a system in your article, “the parties and their coalitions
will form federal and regional executive power bodies (and
not vise versa), propose candidates on the post of the head
of the state, heads of regions and local self-governments.
They will have a long experience of civilised political competition.”
We agree with this, however, we have to remind you that it
is the United Russia party created by the executive authority
which holds a monopoly in our politics. It unites the executive
and the legislative authorities on all the levels, fully employs
administrative resource during elections, privileged access
to mass media and even refuses to participate in the television
debates. In addition, coalitions of parties (blocs) are prohibited
by [Russia’s] electoral law. Without changing these practices
we can not create a functioning multiparty system in Russia,
and, consequently, an independent legislative authority. Laws
initiated by bureaucratic bodies and obediently adopted by
the present legislators are further implemented without any
control (or are evaded) by the same bureaucracy in their departmental
or personal interests.
We fully support the foreign policy priorities formulated
in your article: “Modernisation of the Russian democracy,
formation of new economy, are possible only in case we make
use of the intellectual resources of the postindustrial society.
Without any complexes – openly and pragmatically. Harmonization
of relations with Western democracies is not a matter of taste
or some personal likes and dislikes of some political groups.
Our domestic financial and technological possibilities do
not suffice for the real improvement of the quality of life…
Certainly, there are no relations without contradictions.
Debatable topics and causes for discrepancies always emerge.
However, such sensibility, haughtiness, lack of trust, moreover
hostility should be excluded on the mutual basis from Russia’s
relations with the leading democracies.”
However, what we can see in practice? Russia’s relations
with the Western countries have been undergoing the most difficult
period since the end of the cold war twenty years ago. The
European Security system has been virtually paralised, and
long-term stagnation without any prospects ahead has become
specific trait of Russia’s negotiations on entering the WTO
and the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the
European Union. Restoration of Russia’s interaction with NATO
which has been always shallow, is only beginning after the
crisis in August 2008. In June 2009 Moscow again surprised
the outer world when after President’s announcing Russia’s
readiness to enter the WTO, a couple of weeks later Prime
Minister stated that Russia would enter the WTO together with
Kazakhstan and Byelorussia, which postponed the matter for
another several years. In response to Russia’s concept to
the “area of privileged interests” within the CIS, the EU
announced the Eastern Partnership concept towards this region,
however, Russia did not join it.
It is really very difficult for us to build relations with
leading democracies on the equal basis due to both the economic
lag between Russia and these democracies and even more due
to grave problems of our society (mentioned by you), corruption
inclusive. Only real and efficient fight with these diseases
will make Russia an equal and respected partner of the West.
However, it seems that due to immense difficulties in this
fight we have become looking for other “equal” allies. These
are underdeveloped and often corrupt, irresponsible and unstable
regimes of Iran, Venezuela, Burma, North Korea, Nigeria, Angola,
etc. Possibly it is much easier to deal with such regimes.
However, they all are extremely unreliable partners, which
the USSR could find out from its experience. They are drawing
on loans from us (obviously, not going to return them), buy
weapons and nuclear technologies and can involve us into their
The crisis in August 2008 demonstrated deep problems inside
the CIS. None of the CSTO states supported Russia during the
five-day conflict, in spite of our appeal to Article 51 of
the UN Charter (right to self-defence in case of an armed
attack). Further none of them recognized independence of the
South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia obtained a thousand kilometer
long hostile border in the South. Diplomatic relations with
Ukraine – the closest and the most important country for Russia
both in the economic, political and humanitarian aspects –
turned out virtually frozen. An armed conflict for the Crimea
would be a disaster both for Ukraine and
Russia, and would throw Europe back into the Cold War.
At present most people in the West recognize that Russia’s
military action in August 2008 was justified, however, hasty
recognition of independence of two republics represents the
situation in the plays to Russia’s disadvantage. That is why
Moscow remained alone among 190 UN member-states in this issue
(the ridiculous support granted to Russia by Nicaragua and
Venezuela simultaneously with their receiving of loans from
Russia makes this point only more glaring). If a new conference
on European security would be convened on Russia’s proposal,
than in this issue Russia may found itself confronting alone
56 states, including our allies in the CIS, CSTO and EurAsEC,
to say nothing of the OSCE, EU and NATO.
Russia has already found itself alone confronting 30 member-states
after suspension of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe.
Again, Russia was in the absolute minority voting against
the resolution condemning totalitarianism, virtually taking
the stance towards defence of Stalinism at the PACE session
in June 2009. And commentaries in the state media purposefully
distorted the resolution, stating that it allegedly laid equal
blame on Germany and the USSR for unleashing the Second World
Russia’s rivalry with the US/NATO in the post-Soviet space
and the Middle East has been aggravating, and in the perspective
it may spread on the Caribbean, the Arctic and other regions.
Russia and the West have been increasingly often finding themselves
on different sides of local conflicts.
The system of limitation and reduction of nuclear and conventional
weapons has been almost completely dismantled. Negotiations
with the US on the START treaty have been confronted by stubborn
resistance on behalf of the Russian military ministry and
the military-industrial complex. The non-proliferation regime
exacerbated by the Iranian and the North Korean nuclear and
missile programmes is also under threat. Moscow’s policies
are perceived as balancing between the USA on one hand, and
Iran and North Korea on the other, which allow these regimes
to go on with their programmes neglecting the demands of IAEA
and resolution of the UN Security Council.
Change of the US Administration aroused some hope of improvement
of the situation. However, the first successful summits of
the Russian and the US presidents in 2009 and positive decisions
within the framework of current bilateral agreements with
different Western states have been yet unable to avert the
general unfavourable trend. It almost completely abolished
the recent ideas about partnership, strategic union and multi-dimensional
integration, and has been hesitating between a return to the
“peaceful co-existence” in the best case and “deterrence”
and confrontation in the worst case; whereas both the doctrines
refer to different Cold War periods.
In your article you correctly indicate that it is necessary
to strengthen the country’s defence. However, Russia’s sense
of a growing military threat is largely conditioned by the
failures of its military reform both in considerable reduction
of the defence budget in 1990s and in five-fold increase of
military expenditures from 2000 to 2008. This largely explains
the progressing degradation of the general purpose forces,
over-exaggerated role of the nuclear weapons, low rates of
modernization of strategic forces, collapse of the military-industrial
complex, lagging in modern military technologies and snowballing
reclamations in the exports of weapons.
It seems that the RF top military officials have been misinforming
Russia’s political leadership and the society exaggerating
two myths, on the “growth of the military threat” from abroad
“consistent rise of the country’s defence capacity”. This
implies multiple recent PR actions inside the country and
abroad: demonstration flights of bomber aircrafts and a cruise
of warships to Venezuela, tests of ballistic missiles and
grandiose military parades accompanied by formidable warnings,
etc. It can not be ruled out that they have to distract attention
from stagnation of the Russian military reform and state programme
of renovation of armaments, from military corruption, crime
and hazing in the military, especially in view of huge funds
allotted to the defence in the past years of financial exuberance.
This year the army will recruit conscripts with conviction
records, physical and metal disabilities, drugs and alcohol
addicts. In such a situation we can not speak of any “new
image” of the Military Forces.
It is twenty years already that Russia has been unable to
solve the housing problems for the officers, introduce contract-based
principle of recruitment, implement technical re-equipment
of the forces, improve the systems of management and information
provision, raise the level of battle training, justified and
clear categorisation of the military needs, optimization of
the level, structure and composition of the armed forces,
formation of adequate military doctrine and strategy.
We hope that you as Supreme Commander will pay serious attention
to all this. We often watch you at military bases, military
exercises, at missiles tests and in the cabins of military
aircrafts. Dmitry Anatolyevich, do not fell victim of this
display! Large stars at shoulder straps, modern weaponry and
its capacity produce enormous emotional effect on the civilians.
And army generals and fleet admirals are unrivalled masters
in production of pompous military performances and “fireworks”.
However, all this has nothing in common with the country’s
defence, which requires first of all solution of its deeply
The methods of solution. The aforesaid refers both to the
diversification of the economy, transfer from the economy
oriented on the raw exports to the innovative model, which
is the only way to ensure a stable position for the country
among great superpowers and centres of power which will not
depend on oil and gas prices.
You quite reasonably consider such modernization be the main
goal of Russia’s development. However, the article lacks both
the analysis of the reasons why this has not been achieved
yet despite all the calls and declarations and definite ways
of solution of such problems.
Administrative and stuff reshuffles will not bring about
changes in the economy. Merely technical decisions like information,
space, nuclear, energy and medicine technologies you are hope
at even considering them strategic priorities won’t help either.
Moreover introduction of such innovative systems in the present
economic and political system is unreal. Creation of new state
monopolistic corporations for promotion of science and technology
progress in the economy is unlikely to be efficient and will
turn into new feeder for bureaucrats and their partners -
In-depth transformation of Russia’s economy require first
of all changing of the present informal regime of political
and economic relations and breaking of corrupt link of property
and power. Only in this case substantial changes in the legislation
can hit their goals. Here we speak about clear and immutable
property rights that can be ensured by clear division of authorities,
independent and unbiased court, arbitrary court and law enforcement.
We should speak about transparent and legalized relations
between the authorities and the business, anti-monopoly legislation
and restrictions for natural monopolies. We need modern and
open banking, insurance, mortgage infrastructure (that you
correctly defined as a national priority when you were a Vice
Premier). We also need strong civil organisations, protecting
the interests of the employer, the employee and the consumer.
Without all this the high technology sector will not have
a considerable inflow of investments from domestic and foreign
capital, and consequently there can be no long-term high economic
growth rates. Extraction and exports of raw materials and
the banking sector servicing their interests will remain the
locomotives of the Russian economy, however, their efficiency
will be that of the first steam locomotive.
The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO proposes its
analysis of the present situation in the country and the remedial
measures as a constructive response to your article.
Despite the goals you set for the country, the present Russia
is characterised by the system of bureaucratic authoritarianism
oriented at unlimited maintenance of power in the hands of
a narrow circle and ousting of the most efficient and significant
part of the society from any participation in the governing.
This system has gone through the following formation stages
since the middle of 1990s: creation of the state machinery
for election fraud, imposing censorship in the leading mass
media, profanation of the election system and the role of
parliament and political parties at actual returning to a
one-party system, reduction of independence of the court to
the absolute minimum and violent suppression of the activity
of the civil society
The Russian bureaucracy has been perusing its usual policies
of imitation of democratic institutions that do not fit into
the present system. This results in creation of pseudo-oppositional
parties like the Just Russia party, support of multiple structures
imitating the civil society, organisation of multiple “show
off” actions with participation of foreign guests.
Statements on the need to build a new society and the state,
and calls to innovations have been heard since 1990s, however,
they always remained words only and brought about no positive
changes, they can not be trusted unless they are accompanied
by adequate solutions and steps in the right direction. Such
steps may be as follows:
- abolishment of political censorship, use of judicial system
and law enforcement bodies as a means of struggle with political
opponents, revision of unlawful decision of the courts, ensuring
of change and transparency of the authority and abolishing
of interference into the parties’ performance;
- clear definition by the country leaders of Russia’s strategic
perspective as modern European state based on division of
power, priority of human life and human rights;
- adoption of state decisions that give principled and clear
assessment of Stalinism, political arbitrary rule and hypocritical
ideology of the Soviet period.
The political elite many times in our history lost the chance
to conduct modernization of the country being carried out
by loud statements in the absence of practical actions and
leaving the country to a collapse.
We do not want today’s Russia to face the same destiny.
In addition to the aforementioned priority measures we propose
the following steps as an alternative to such a course:
In domestic policies:
Abolishing of laws and amendments adopted in the past years
and limiting the rights of political parties and civil organisations.
Measures against the merger of the politics and the large-scale
business: laws on transparency in financing of political parties,
parliamentary lobbying, a ban for representatives of large-scale
business to take state posts and a ban for the workers of
the legislative, the executive and the judicial authority
to participate in the boards of directors of state companies
and companies with the participation of the state.
Abrupt increase of responsibility of the workers of the law
enforcement system for departure from the law, which should
be considered as a grave crime.
Returning of the meaning to the elections: dependence of
all the candidates from the voters rather than from the state
bodies and ensuring the real alternative at the elections.
This should be ensured by the following measures: restoration
of the alternative, competitive elections of governors and
Federation Council members, lowering of the barrier for the
parties at elections of all levels, measures against employment
of the “locomotives” (well-known persons who are not going
to work in the representative bodies) by parties in their
election lists, considerable reduction of the share of bureaucrats
in the electoral commissions as well as those who depend in
their post from different administrations, etc.
Freeing local self-governing from all excess state controls
and provision of minimal sufficient and permanent sources
of financing for local self-governing.
Conducting of judicial reform and recalling of unlawful judgments,
politically motivated judgments inclusive.
In the socio-economic filed:
Building of a socially responsible state based on equality
of opportunities, in particular: laws ensuring the rights
of independent trade unions, minimum wage higher than subsistence
minimum, mandatory nature and stability of labour contracts,
a real right to a strike, close attention to maintenance and
development of public education and heath care and priority
state financing of these sectors, maintenance of gratuitous
education at continuous growth of its quality, maintenance
of high educational standards all over Russia, not only in
large cities and the most developed regions.
Supporting of mass-scale economic activity, small and medium-scale
business, tough anti-monopoly policy. Adoption of measures
encouraging development of small-scale business in such sectors
as construction, transport (public transport inclusive), energy
sector (including small-scale and alternative energy spheres),
housing and communal services and other sectors virtually
seized by monopolies today.
Guarantee and protection for all types of property with special
attention to the rights of multiple small proprietors of housing,
plots of land, introduction of changes into the laws targeted
at acceleration and simplification of registration of property
title. State guarantee of objective examination of all the
complaints on raiders’ attacks, such property should be returned
to the lawful owners.
Formation of the environmental policy, including restoration
of the Ministry of Ecology which would have the proxies to
stop via court environmentally detrimental productions, complete
restoration of the ecological expertise institute, increase
of payment for pollution (the principle “those who pollute
are to pay”), reduction of ecologically dependent morbidity,
development of nature parks, participation in the international
efforts in the fight against climate change and other ecological
In foreign policies:
Abolishment of foreign policy principles based on emotions,
offenses, “strong words” that seriously harm long-term interests
of the country for the sake of satisfaction of certain state
bureaucrats and reactionary nationalists in the political
Abolishment of attempts to use political instability in the
neighbouring states for provocation of crises and “regime
changes”. This first of all refers to Russia’s relations with
Formation of foreign policy proceeding from the understanding
that Russia is an integral part of the European civilization
and this determines it way of development and the key priorities
of its foreign policy. This does not rule out that Russia,
as any large country, can have interests in different regions
of the world. However, these interests should not be realised
instead of or to the injury of its relations with its main
It is in Russia’s interests to reduce demonstrative military
activity and the tone of the accompanying militant declarations.
Implementing consistent measures in the housing policy, military
reform, curbing of corruption and crime, combat training and
technical re-equipment we shall be able to strengthen the
defence and bring respect from progressive military states.
The less there are military “shows”, alarming declarations
on the “military threat” and angry retorts to the “possible
aggressor”, the more respect there is for Russia in the world.
We are certain that the slogans “Forward!” and “Towards the
21st Century!” mean Russia’s movement towards the best standards
developed by the European democrats after the Second World
War (by the way, independent Russian philosophical thought
formed a part of the foundation of this perception). These
standards are not impeccable, however, there are no other
benchmarks for Russia’s future. The experience of the state
formation envisaging formation of a rational economy on the
basis of independent legal institutions was completely disrupted
and changed after 1917. The Soviet experience is important
for history, however, within the framework of this experience
human potential developed insignificantly compared to the
possibilities and, moreover, the positive aspect of the experience
of that period emerged despite of the system rather than due
to it. With all respect to traditions of our neighbours and
partners in the East and in the South we are unlikely to follow
their example. To say nothing of traditions and ideological
roots, we have nothing to do but to be a part of Europe, to
be European Russia without ambiguity and saving clauses.
In all these endeavours, respected Dmitry Anatolyevich, you
can further count on all possible political and intellectual
support of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO.