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Grigory Yavlinsky's manifesto: Elections versus a Revolution

Do not wean people away from elections

Systematic discrediting of elections is as dangerous as election fraud

Press Release

September 11, 2011

Grigory Yavlinsky: Do not wean people away from elections

Systematic discrediting of elections is as dangerous as election fraud

Dr.Grigory Yavlinsky, one of the founders of the YABLOKO party topping the party list at parliamentary elections, made a programme statement at the 16th Congress of YABLOKO. The first round of the Congress finished on Sunday in the Moscow Region.

Addressing in his final speech "colleagues, associates and opponents" of YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky noted that the coming elections to the Russian parliament (December 4) are "widely considered being a sham and people are called for various forms of boycotting". "We understand this position, and we respect it, as well as many other political positions, but we do not share it, he stressed.

Yavlinsky innumerated the reasons why the YABLOKO party had decided to run in the elections.

"First, we accept only elections and not any other way for the change of power in the country. "We will never support any rebellion, coups-detat or revolutions, because we know that they will lead to exactly the same situation in which we are now or it will even get worse, Yavlinsky said. This can change only names [of persons in power], but the essence will remain the same. We are going to change the system and it can be done only through elections, he added.

"Second, today YABLOKO is the only registered independent political party that will always stand in defence of liberty, equality before law and the inviolability of private property," Yavlinsky stressed. "We are convinced that these values are absolutely consciously shared by the majority of our fellow citizens and it would be a betrayal on our part if we deprive them of chance to make their choice, he noted.

"Third, we believe that calls for a boycott voters have been hearing for many years are a serious obstacle to the development of a modern society in our country." According to Yavlinsky, "Systematic discrediting of elections is as dangerous as election fraud. Because if you do not vote, then why should you fight fraud? "

"Fourth, YABLOKO is in opposition to [Prime Minister] Putin and [President] Medvedev, and we firmly dismiss all the attempts to picture us as a tame opposition." "Constructive opposition and tame opposition are different things. The opposition must engage in a dialogue," he said.

"We have ready alternative socio-economic development plans for reforms in education and healthcare, the judiciary and so on. Finally, we have developed the "Land-Housing-Roads" project. Its implementation could become a starting point for radical positive changes in Russia. We want this to become a reality".

"These are the reasons why we are running in the elections. Our position is clear ," he stressed.

Referring to "all who are now inclined to boycotting the election in some form" Yavlinsky noted that if YABLOKO were withdrawn from the elections, we would not urge the voters to boycott." "We were removed from elections many times, but we have never called to boycotting elections, though we discussed it and came to the conclusion that it was not simply meaningless but also extremely dangerous," he said.

"I am not going to tell you now that low turnout and spoiled ballots is the most comfortable situation for further fraud. It is clear to everyone. I'll speak about another thing. What will change in the country on the 4th of December if a person did not come to the polling station or torn his ballot? Nothing will be changed this way," Grigory Yavlinsky stressed.

"What the authorities will do? Do you think that on seeing the turnout is low and 10 per sent of ballots are spoiled they will repent of their sins and cancel the result of the voting and conduct fair elections? No. Authorities will do nothing, Yavlinsky said. And what will do those who have called for a boycott? Well, probably some public statements will be made. The gap between the state and the society will increase. Sooner or later, the only solution will be a revolution or, more likely, a coup detat. But everything will remain the same. The system will not change. "

"Today I am asking all those who are calling for a boycott of the elections to re-evaluate their position. Is not too late to tell the voters that in reality all depends on them. There are well-known public politicians, journalists, publicists, political scientists and experts among you and people listen to your opinion. You can bring millions of thoughtful and self-confident people to the polling stations, you can help them feel again that they are citizens," Yavlinsky said.

"Spare no effort for this, and there is time still, and on December 4 you will see results that will raise your hopes. You will realise then that the main problem is not fraud, but voters apathy," he stressed.

"I'm not asking you to support YABLOKO, I am asking about a different thing. Help people to overcome the indifference, do not wean people away from elections and when your party will be on the electoral ballot, people will not spit on the next elections, but come and vote. And this will be a real democracy! " Yavlinsky said.

When applying for support "to the present, former and future supporters of YABLOKO, to all those who share basic democratic values that lie in the foundations of the ideology and policies of the YABLOKO party, Grigory Yavlinsky assured that YABLOKO "is always ready to cooperate. "We are ready to accept any constructive proposals and initiatives and, in our turn, we are always willing to share our resources and opportunities," he said.

"I am asking you to join this appeal and actively support it, Yavlinsky said.

In the final part of his speech he addressed "those voters who are going abstain from voting in protest or think how to spoil their ballots, as well as all those who are indifferent".

"I realise that for the past ten years many people have lost faith that something may depend on their choice in Russia. But it is not so! A lot depends on them," the politician said.

Yavlinsky also noted that "these elections will bring together several very different political parties".

"Regardless of what they promise, and probably they will all talk about the same things, you, however, can make your own correct choices... To do this, you should not only listen to the promises, but to understand whose interests this or that party actually protects, he said.

"It's not easy. But if you want that something may depend on you in your country, that something would change, you have to solve this problem. We will try to help you here.

Finally, Yavlinsky appealed "to all the thinking people, liberal intelligentsia, leaders of political and social organisations, journalists, all those who somehow affect or may affect public opinion."

"I would like to stress that the main problem in the country today is not fraud in the upcoming elections, but growing indifference and even contempt of Russias citizens to the institute of elections," Yavlinsky said.

"Let us fix it together! Let's return civic responsibility to the people!" he called the public.

"The elections will take place. And YABLOKO will take part in them! And it depends on the voters and certainly on you, rather than from the authorities whether they are fair and honest, Yavlinsky noted.

"We are not advocating simply rotation of people in power. We are for the change of the system of governing in Russia! Russia demands changes! And we will do everything we can for this, he stressed.


See also:


Elections to the State Duma 2011

The Moscow Times. Yavlinsky to Run for Duma With Yabloko. September 12, 2011

YABLOKO's Congress. Sergei Mitrokhin about priorities for the YABLOKO faction in the State Duma.Press Release, September 10, 2011


Press Release

September 11, 2011

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