Thank you very much for the invitation to make a speech at this
extremely important congress.
First of all I would like to express my deep respects for all
the participants in this congress, for everybody who has chosen
this difficult and very dangerous route in their lives. On behalf
of my colleagues from Yabloko I would like to express our deep
respect to those who have enough courage and managed to overcome
the apathy and laziness and fight in today’s Russia for the right
to live and be free. Today people are not imprisoned for such
actions as was the case previously, but now they are beaten, persecuted,
mutilated and humiliated. And this happens everywhere in our country.
The authorities consider all advocates of human rights to be their
opponents and their enemies. I would like to make a special welcome
to the young people here: you can see lots of them in this hall.
Their choice demonstrates their courage and personal maturity.
Photo: Grigory Yavlinsky
speaks at the All-Russia Emergency Congress in Defence of
Human Rights. Moscow, January 21, 2001. Photo by Olga Schweitzer.
On behalf of our party I declare here our solidarity with virtually
everything that has been said at this congress.
Today, more and more people are beginning to understand, albeit
slowly, what is actually happening in our
country. People are beginning to understand that we have a pretence
freedom of speech, which in actual fact
only allows us to systematically offer praise of the people at
People see that the declared independence
of the judiciary is a fake, as it continues to execute the orders
the leadership. This system can be used like a
truncheon - whenever it is needed. It is always ready to open
proceedings on whomsoever it is and
initiate the persecution. We have sham elections: Everybody knows
well that people manage somehow to
elect the people promoted by the authorities, rather than the
they want. This happens at all levels. The
country has a sham multi-party system: the party of power has
privileges, even bigger than was the case
for the previous parties of power that have regularly appeared
1990. This "party" is seeking to obtain a
monopoly, after virtually joining forces with the CPRF [the Communist
Party of the Russian Federation]. We
have a sham separation of powers because our government is not
subordinate to anyone. The executive
authorities do whatever they want, are accountable to noone, not
An understanding of recent developments is coming very slowly,
but the veil is vanishing little by little. It is becoming clear
that the present policies are more and more reminiscent of a “special
[military] operation”. And every “special [military] operation
as you know has two main forms: recruitment and “active measures”.
This is evident in all areas of current policies. They make statements,
set tasks and then all of them are transformed into a virtual
reality, are burnt out by it, and only recruitment is left in
the end. And people who are not recruited for some reason or other
are then subjected to “active measures”.
Photo: Grigory Yavlinsky
speaks at the All-Russia Emergency Congress in Defence of
Human Rights. Moscow, January 21, 2001. Photo by Sergei
Loktionov, Press Service, Yabloko.
Normal open public policies are today easily replaced by PR,
and mudslinging. Today they don’t enter into
discussions with their opponents. There is no political discussion
more. Today, if they are seriously concerned
about an opponent, they arrange for his political burial in the
the television or three hours before the
X-hour when he is removed from the elections. Today, this is enough
show who is right.
What is the real name of such policy? It is well-known in Russia:
end justifies the means. Without such
policies it is impossible to conceal crime and corruption or conceal
reasons why half of Russia is literally
freezing. The most characteristic trait of today's authority is
absence of any notion of the value of human life
which it unabashedly demonstrates, or of any inalienable rights
freedoms. It is senseless to speak about this
issue with the authorities. They refuse to all such simple truths
enter their consciousness. This is how things
have been for almost ten years. And what is the result?
Over ten years our country has suffered through two wars, one
continues; two defaults, one of them
enormous in 1998; and hyperinflation in 1992, which destroyed
material resources of our fellow citizens. In
1993, we faced the start of a civil war. The energy accumulated
this period is beginning to be transformed
into a new quality: our country has ceased to count its dead.
longer pay attention to the number of
people who are killed every day in zones of military conflict
to a number of other reasons that cannot be
explained from the point of view of logic, the law or the Constitution.
A country that does not count its dead is
moving along a very dangerous road : it becomes indifferent. This
just what is needed for the biggest political
adventures. Just recollect people’s reactions to the events of
[public resistance to the attempted coup
d’etat]. And now look what happens today.
The foundations of a new political system are being formed in
country. Today I would call it as yet
unrecognisable national bolshevism. It is easy to explain each
terms based on a totalitarian bureaucracy
rule. This is deeply engrained and is the basis of everything,
including our economic system.
Such a process does not occur all of a sudden. An attempt to
capitalism without creating a civil society
fails and results in what I have just described. In Karl Popper's
"The Open Society and Its Enemies", he
pinpointed two major enemies to an open society: fascism and communism.
Incidentally Russia's experience
revealed that an attempt to build capitalism without a civil society,
efficient and independent judicial system,
without laws, without the usage and understanding of national
and cultures creates a no lesser enemy
of civil society.
People who have been deprived of their civil rights and duped
create a modern economy. The present
Congress and all the fields of activity connected with the protection
human rights do not have to simply remind
people [of the past], or serve simply as part of a political process,
as some politicians would say, “to count the
number of prisoners per cell”… No. When a state is based on the
of human rights, the role of your congress
and the movement for the protection of human rights is absolutely
different. Only once we have put the
unalienable human rights of each man at the centre of the economic
system, will we be able to create a
pragmatic and effective economy.
Manipulators playing with the meanest of feelings think that
the elections on the order of their bosses.
This is true. But at the same time they are losing the country.
address all those who adhere to the opinion that
Russia needs an iron hand, a “controlled democracy” a controlled
“dummed down” public opinion, a corporate
state to protect itself in the world. They cite the examples of
Korea and Chile.
Dear manipulators and “thinkers”, the tasks which the South
to face not so long ago were solved
through big blood in Russia in the 1930s. We don’t have to solve
tasks a second time. The economy of the
21st century can be created only by free people, who have the
free information and a fair judiciary. And
let no one hope that this can be achieved in another way.
It seems to me that the moment has come when the whole of the
for the protection of human rights in
Russia should think about how to help society develop individuality,
personal responsibility, overcome laziness and
cowardice. I think that the movement for the protection of human
cannot be paternalist. that is why the
development of personal initiative and personal freedom is at
forefront of Yabloko’s policies. That is why we
think that the protection of human rights and freedoms is our
Our understanding of freedoms is very broad. Our understanding
rights is also broad, just as they should in our
opinion be understood in Russia. Human rights imply a freedom
property and a right to private property,
a freedom of fair competition and a right to fair competition,
freedoms and social rights, the right to honest
elections. All this serves as the basis for our ideology. That
you can be certain that all the people in our
party share without exception the ideas you are discussing at
and have solidarity with virtually
everything you have discussed. We think that today serious and
practical tasks need to be undertaken.
For example, protection of the Constitution that we have frequently
criticised and did not support in 1993, has
become almost a programme task of our party. When asked about
attitude to the Constitution and the
so-called Constitutional Assembly, we say that we view extremely
negatively attempts to revise the Constitution
and will protect it with all parliamentary and extra-parliamentary
We would like to mention our proposal on joint work in army
propose to use here all the funds at our
government's disposal and which it refuses to show to society,
to the State Duma. We can easily show
these funds in the budget: they suffice to initiate army reform.
example, there are enough funds to stop this
year already the mass-scale conscription of young people to the
Forces. These are not slogans or wishes –
these are definite and real possibilities that have developed
present unique situation.
Let us do this together!
We think that it is absolutely right and stress once again –
refusal of our faction to import nuclear
waste to our country. We call on you to support us here. We support
and you can support us.
I don’t want to raise here the topic of complex relationships
politicians and human rights defenders, but
we have common goals. We think that a special, well-thought out
multi-tiered operation to liquidate freedom
of speech is being implemented. We think that that the closure
NTV channel is a political action, and
prosecution of the leadership of the NTV is a political prosecution.
think that this is an attempt to liquidate a
real possibility for the political forces to defend their rights,
this information base ceases to exist, the
possibilities for political forces will fall abruptly.
Really, why do they have to fight with political parties? It
to silence them. It is much easier!
We prepare to submit to the State Duma a block of laws on civil
over secret services. We insist that the
introduction of such control is necessary and should be carried
soon as possible. We express solidarity with
your proposals on reforms in criminal law and the judicial system,
we shall do all we can to support it.
Finally, we begin practical work on the holding of the Democratic
Assembly this year and call on all of you to
support this. We would like to join together all the civil and
democratic forces – regardless of posts and
subordination – at a round table and make this a regular event,
ensure the rotation of co-ordinators of this
work and develop a common agenda. We have begun practical work
are going to convene the first
meeting of the Assembly already in April this year.
We are very glad that you managed to join forces at your Congress.
Only reforms that guarantee real rights and
real freedoms to every individual, only reforms that reach each
individual can bring strength and prosperity to our
country. And your Congress demonstrates this all too well.
of the All-Russia Emergency Congress in Defence of Human Rights