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 one’s position
in Russia. For the past week civil activist Konstantin Fektistov
and journalist Oleg Kashin were beaten almost to death and
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
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 YABLOKO’s 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
Russia’s 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, Russia’s 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, Russia’s 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
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 YABLOKO’s 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.
a permission from the Moscow Mayor’s office to conduct a rally
against political terror. Press Release, November 9, 2010.
the attack against journalist Oleg Kashin. Statement by the
Federal Council of the YABLOKO party, November 6, 2010
as a member of Liberal International