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Address of the YABLOKO party to President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev

Political Committee of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO

October 9, 2009


Adopted by the Political Committee of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO. Resolution No 16 of September 26, 2009.

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 earlier.

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 very up-to-date.

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 physical violence.

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 traditions).

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 conducting transformations.

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 regional adventures.

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 War.

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 and
“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 rooted problems.

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 - oligarchs.

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 threats.

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 elite.

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 Ukraine.

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 partners.

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.


Political Committee of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO

October 9, 2009