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The 12th congress of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO

Programme resolution of the 12th congress of Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO

July 4, 2004
The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO considers the results of the presidential elections and the election campaign to the State Duma be the triumph of bureaucracy over society. The citizens of Russia turned out to be helpless and deprived of civil rights before an omnipotent bureaucracy which had been increasing its army under cover of statements that its size would be cut.

What regime has developed in Russia?

By now a new political regime has finally taken shape in Russia. It is a bureaucratic, oligarchic and police regime. The essential feature of this regime is that the authorities that have to serve society, do not depend on society and, therefore, do not function in the interests of society.

This regime is bureaucratic because a bureaucrat holds all the power there. A narrow group of bureaucrats makes decisions in the Kremlin. Then these decisions are blindly executed by the bureaucrats sitting in the government and are blindly adopted by the bureaucrats voting in the State Duma. The controlling functions in this system are also carried out exclusively by bureaucrats. And if a citizen wants to challenge these decisions, they will be defended by bureaucrats sitting in the courts.

This regime is oligarchic. The bureaucracy merged with large-scale business to achieve impenetrable mutual responsibility aiming at appropriating the maximum possible share of GDP. The demonstrative thrashing of several oligarchs has not changed anything in this system. Dozens of less noticeable and political ambitious, though no less mercenary oligarchs, came to replace them and profit from proximity to the power clans. The oligarchic alliance of business and the authorities has changed over the past four years, however, it has only strengthened its positions. This is evidenced by the fact, that not only does the state refuse to share with the citizens the profit from the excessively high oil prices: instead it is looking for new ways and means "to economise" on its constitutional social obligations.

And, finally, this is a police regime. The bureaucracy is not capable of keeping society compliant by duping, manipulations, and falsifications of elections. To protect itself from the society, it requires a powerful police apparatus based on compulsion, restriction of any rights and freedoms bearing potential control over bureaucracy. Therefore the bureaucracy has been consistently expanding its rights, consistently attacking the rights of the citizens. Courts have been absolutely merged with the executive authorities, while the Public Prosecutor and other "power structures", including the law and enforcement agencies, have been transformed into the President's "praetorian guards".

The arbitrary rule of the authorities and corruption, inefficiency of the law-enforcement system and inability of the state to provide security for the citizens have become glowing signs of today. All of these are the traits of a police state protecting the authorities from the citizens rather than vice-versa.

Whom does this regime threaten?

During the recent elections Russian society lost most. Losing an independent parliament, it lost the opportunity to be represented in the authorities and counteract decision-making by the authorities that would drastically contradict the interests of society. The monstrous machine of manipulations and compulsions forced the population to give their votes to "United Russia", a party which through its puppet voting in the Duma has inflicted crushing blows on the welfare and social protection of the citizens.

The police regime inflicts serious threats on the human rights and liberties of every citizen; profiting from the absence of real counterbalances, the authoritative regime will expand its zones of control and increasingly interfere with citizens' private lives.

This regime threatens poor people: pensioners, the disabled, veterans of war and work, state employees and large families. The Government deprives them of privileges, not offering fully-fledged compensation in the form of increases in pensions and grants. And the prices for medicines continue to grow, while prices for medical services jump sharply up. Adopting the new Housing Code, the state unilaterally terminates obligations before citizens waiting for housing. Thus the most submissive and long-suffering citizens are the greatest losers. The right of the disabled and participants in war to the priority receipt of state housing is cancelled. But it will be even worse for graduates of children's homes: they are deprived of their rights to priority receipt of housing. It means that they simply will be thrown out on the streets and will enlarge the army of "homeless".

Russian business is under threat. The omnipotent bureaucrats have entangled business in thousands of bureaucratic shackles. And does not intend to weaken them: it plans to hold business on a short lead - to guarantee its compliance and readiness to share, certainly not to budget, but to bureaucrats.

The Russian middle class is the loser as a whole. It will be forced to pay for medicine, children's education, communal tariffs, senseless car and housing insurance. And new sources of income for middle class do not appear, as they will all be usurped by a corrupt bureaucracy.

Russian education and science is loser. There not only lose salaries guaranteed by federal law, but also federal specifications of the minimal financing of establishments of education. Private high schools have also lost state support. All state duties on support of children – the disabled and talented children have been cancelled. The right to free higher education actually disappears:

It is a paradox, but all this is occurring at a time of unprecedented high oil prices. The incomes of the state are growing more and more, but the state refuses more and more duties before society.

Russia is the loser. A country, where all power is accorded to aself-interested bureaucracy, is doomed to historical defeat in competition with the advanced countries of the modern world.

Why democrats are losers?

Democracy suffered a convincing defeat at the elections [to the State Duma]. The process and results of these elections, which were neither fair, nor free, have demonstrated that the institute of democratic elections in Russia does not exist any more. It is emasculated, transformed into imitation, as have other democratic institutes: parliament, the mass media and the judicial system. The system of checks and counterbalances has been destroyed, there is no control by society over the state. In these conditions the recipient of the administrative resource in exchange for loyalty to the authorities wins elections. For these reason democratic parties ended up cast outside the walls of Parliament. However they bear a huge share of responsibility themselves.

Putin's Russia is the direct successor of Yeltsin's Russia which was constructed with the active participation of those who under the guise of democracy pawned the bases of the oligarchic system.

The politics who named themselves "democrats" are responsible for the chosen path to a market economy which led to the loss of all savings of most citizens and redistribution of the property to the benefit of a narrow circle of people closely connected to the authorities and criminals. Democrats in the opinion of most people are those who intentionally created gangster capitalism in our country. Consequently the word "democracy" in public consciousness is strongly associated with the concept "oligarchy", and the word "democrat" with the concept "the defender of oligarchs". For this reason most voters both at the Duma and presidential elections votes for the liquidation of democracy and the establishment of authoritarianism.

That does not mean that the management of YABLOKO relieves themselves of responsibility for the results of the elections. We are responsible for the fact that before the elections in 1999 we allowed the authors of gangster reforms to draw on their side a number of democratic politicians and voters supporting them. We failed to convince the mass democratic voters that reforms in Russia could be conducted essentially differently, than was done by reformers in the 1990s.

Therefore we assume our share of responsibility not only for the defeat of democracy, but for the implementation of these mercenary reforms in a lighter form under Kasyanov's Government, and their continuation under Fradkov's Government of technocrats.

We are responsible for not doing enought to stop the formation in Russia of an oligarchic, and then - on its basis - bureaucratic police state.

Problems of the democratic movement

However, we believe in the future of the democratic movement in Russia. Democrats, certainly, have a chance. What needs to be done to achieve this goal? Many people consider the main and almost only condition for the future success of democrats - an unconditional merger. The merger issue is extremely important. However, it cannot be an end in itself. The following issues are no less important: merge with whom and why?

A merger of democrats can only regain the trust of the electorate, if it manages to rehabilitate democratic values in the opinion of Russian society and offer the voters a clear and attractive path for the country's development, that differs from today’s road to nowhere. In our opinion, the following problems must be resolved to achieve this goal:

1. Comprehend the tragedy of privatization. To perform the first of these conditions it is necessary to reconsider radically the relationship of democrats to "the oligarchic heritage". Democrats should comprehend the tragedy of Russian privatization and assess its results. Total revision of privatization results and redistribution of property are inadmissible in order to avoid an even greater tragedy. But democrats should offer society a mechanism for compensating for the damage that the consequences of privatization continue to impose on society.

2. To break off communication with oligarchs. It is necessary to put to an end the financially extremely seductive, but politically destructive informal union of democrats and oligarchs. We condemned and we shall condemn selective political prosecution of the large business which made a fortune from privatization. We continue to advocate the human rights of victims of a similar arbitrariness. However, our principled position is that individuals and organizations involved in the creation of gangster capitalism in Russia or obliged to it for their capital, can be neither sponsors, nor participants of a democratic coalition at elections. The political parties supported by such structures, or carrying out their orders, cannot become members of a democratic coalition irrespective of whether they constitute an arrangement with the authorities, or "are offended" by them and went into opposition.

3. To find a social face. The recent elections demonstrated that democratic values in themselves are not interesting to majority of voters. This does not mean that the people oppose democracy, they are more concerned about welfare and stability. Democrats should prove to society that only the European way of development of the country results in the social welfare of the majority of the population. It is necessary to formulate an alternative course to Putin's politics: reforms in the interests of society, instead of bureaucracy, oligarchs and monopolies. One of the global objectives of this course should be to not only restore real democratic institutes, but also achieve real growth in the welfare of the majority of the population.


1. Protection of democratic gains and institutes, counteraction to the onslaught of authoritarianism.
To resolve this problem it is necessary:

- To consolidate civil society which today faces sever pressure from the authorities while its efforts and resources today are separated and weakened;

- To create a wide front on the protection of liberties where all independent parties and civil organizations could take part with the exception of Stalinists, fascists and virtual drafts. Such a front is necessary not to take part in elections but to ensure that elections are held;

- To mobilize all forces to oppose falsification of election results and the mass use of "an administrative resource" in the process.

2. Opposition to the implementation o anti-social reforms.
The party will actively resist

- The state’s abdication of its social obligations through their transfer to the regions or of "monetisation" of privileges;

- The violent ousting of the population on the housing market with the risk of a sharp increase in homeless people;

- Transition to paid education and medicine.

3. Protection of citizens against the arbitrariness of bureaucrats and the law and enforcement agencies. With this purpose the party creates public offices, committees of protection of citizens, etc. YABLOKO will fight both the system generating this arbitrariness, and concrete bureaucrats creating it.

4. Creation of an effective model of coalition politics assisting the mobilization of democratic voters at local, regional and federal elections.

5. Successful participation in regional and local elections, as well as in elections to the State Duma 2007.

Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO declares itself as a democratic opposition to the President, the Government and the State Duma and considers as its overall objective a change in the political regime in Russia.


See also:

The 12th Congress of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO

July 4, 2004

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