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Country report on Russia by Sergei Mitrokhin

Sergei Mitrokhin's speech at the Executive Committee of Liberal International
Cape Town, November 13, 2010

Liberal International Executive Committee
Cape Town, November 13, 2010
Country Report. Russia

By Sergei Mitrokhin, YABLOKO


Dear Liberal Friends,

I shall speak very briefly on the political situation in Russia. Unfortunately today I have more bad news than good news from Russia.

It has become increasingly dangerous to state ones position in Russia. For the past week civil activist Konstantin Fektistov and journalist Oleg Kashin were beaten almost to death and severely injured.

Such crimes become more frequent, as they go unpunished. Murders of well-known journalist Anna Politkovskaya, lawyer Stanislav Markelov and human rights activist Natalia Estemirova are still uninvestigated.

For the past years our party YABLOKO lost several our friends and colleagues journalists and human rights activists Larissa Yudina, Yuri Schekochikhin and Farid Babayev. These crimes are still uninvestigated.

The fact that crimes against politicians, journalists and human rights activists are unpunished gives rise to new crimes.

The Russian authorities are unable to ensure implementation of laws in the country. But they widely practice arbitrary use of law as an instrument for protection of their political and economic interests. The most vivid example here is the Mikhail Khodorkovsky case. We consider this case politically biased.

In words Russian leaders advocate the rule of law and democracy. But their deeds strikingly differ from their declarations.

Elections are falsified. You probably know about the fraud at the Moscow elections last autumn. Regional elections in March and October this year continued this trend. But fraud also demonstrated the insecurity of the ruling party. High popularity ratings of Putin and Medvedev and very low rates of public trust to state and public institutes demonstrate instability of our political system. That is why the authorities do not let the opposition to take part in election campaigns.

Violation of the right to freedom of assembly has also turned into everyday practices in Russia. The world has learned about breaking of peaceful demonstrations and rallies by police and bans to hold such actions. Many YABLOKOs activists including myself have been arrested several times as criminals for peaceful rallies and pickets. The new law on the Secret Services we protested against envisages tough sanctions against all the dissenting.

Russias modernisation announced by President Medvedev is words only. It has not even started. The Russian President understands modernisation as acceleration of scientific and technological development. But YABLOKO believes that modernisation is impossible without ensuring the rule of law for everyone, democratisation and independent mass media.

Another problem is corruption. According to Transparency International, Russias corruption perception dropped in 2010 by eight points placing Russia on the 154th place out of total 178. No reforms or anti-corruption campaigns can be conducted by our commercial bureaucracy. Such campaigns quickly transfer the federal budget money into the pockets of bureaucrats. That is why we are saying that a political reform should be an integral part of economic modernisation. Because it is impossible to conduct modernisation without division of authorities and real fight against corruption.

As you see, Russias problems are very serious. They are rooted not only in 70 years of the communist regime, also in the large mistakes made by the pseudo liberals who were ruling the state in early 1990s.

Our main goal is not only to change Putin or Medvedev. Our goal is to change the OLIGARCHIC SYSTEM. To separate business from the power, to enforce independent justice, real private property rights, establish the rule of law, and implement in practice the main liberal principle - equal opportunities for everyone.

Freedom and Justice for Russian citizens! This is the main motto of our party!

And some good news in conclusion. In extremely unfriendly authoritarian and semi-criminal environment we managed to survive, preserve our force and readiness to a fight. In October regional elections we succeeded in several regions where we managed to ensure total control over counting of the votes. Last weekend we held YABLOKOs Federal Council meeting where we adopted a decision to participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections of 2011 and to offer a comprehensive alternative to the government's policies.



See also:

YABLOKO obtains a permission from the Moscow Mayors office to conduct a rally against political terror. Press Release, November 9, 2010.

On the attack against journalist Oleg Kashin. Statement by the Federal Council of the YABLOKO party, November 6, 2010

Freedom of Speech

Human Rights

Freedom of Assembly


YABLOKO as a member of Liberal International



November 13, 2010

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