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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Russian Declaration of Independence

The Other Russia reports:

The National Assembly, a gathering of political forces put together by the Russian opposition, has released a draft declaration on the state of Russian politics (below). The Assembly will met in Moscow on May 17th and 18th, bringing together delegates from 85 organizations and 66 Russian regions. Political groups include the United Civil Front, the Union of Right Forces, Yabloko, and the Communist Party.

A list of the nearly 700 delegates is available here (RUS). The delegates were chosen at three separate conferences previously held in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Even before the conference started, reports were coming in that delegates were being pressured not to attend. In the southern city of Barnaul, a man claiming to be a major and calling from a number registered with the militsiya threatened Dmitri Kolesnikov and journalist Yevgenia Berseneva, and told them not to leave the city. Roman Mishurov, another delegate, was pulled off a train from Samara to Moscow and detained under an alleged suspicion that he was carrying counterfeit money. In another southern city, Orenburg, Konstantina Korsakova and Yevgenia Kasaurova reported being constantly followed and threatened over the phone.

UPDATE: The declaration has been adopted by delegates on May 17, 2008.

Political Declaration of the National Assembly of the Russian Federation

We, the deputies of the National Assembly, representing Russian civil society, and the widest spectrum of parties and movements of the non-parliamentary opposition,

on the basis of principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

following the provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation,

acting for the sake of the interests of Russia’s people and their future,

do declare:

The ruling political regime in Russia is illegitimate. The political, administrative, [and] judicial authority of Russia has been usurped by the henchmen of oligarchic clans and members of a group of secret services, who have occupied key posts in the political machinery of the country. Major national resources have been put in the service of the regime – environmental, financial, informational. On a vast scale, the ruling regime appropriates government property, budgetary resources, national assets and property of the citizens.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation proclaims: “Man, his rights and freedoms are the supreme value. The recognition, observance and protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen shall be the obligation of the State,” [and] “the only source of power in the Russian Federation shall be its multinational people.” However, the ruling regime has deprived the Russian people of their fundamental civil and political rights – to personal immunity [(translation note: or protection against unreasonable search and seizure)], to freedom of conscience and free expression of one’s convictions, to freedom of movement and travel on the territory of one’s own country, to the freedom of peaceful assemblies and associations, to an independent and impartial judicial defense, to the right of participation in governing the country, to government by the people. Free political competition, the democratic electoral process, representative bodies, an independent judicial system, and independent mass media have been destroyed. The institutions of federalism and local self government have been diluted. The democratic procedures have been reduced to fiction.

The elections of deputies to the State Duma on December 2nd 2007 and of the president on March 2nd 2008 were neither free, nor competitive, nor fair. The citizens of Russia were subjected to unprecedented bribery, arm-twisting and intimidation. The results of the voting were widely and glaringly falsified. Unlawfully usurping the powers of government, the ruling regime accomplished a take-over of political authority that belongs to the Russian people. The organs of state power, formed as result of such a special operation, as well as any decisions adopted, and all appointments made by these bodies, contradict the Russian Constitution in the rudest way and are therefore unlawful.

Having destroyed the imperfect, but none the less functioning legal order in the country, the regime has made complete lawlessness the norm. A caste of corrupt bureaucrats has been created, [and is] protected by the full powers of the repressive state apparatus.

At the same time, the nation’s military system is crumbling, which leads to the degradation of Russia’s armed forces, the weakening of the country’s defense capabilities, and loss of its real sovereignty.

In the present-day world, the regime’s social and economic policies secure the role of a backwards raw-materials exporter for our country. The authority of favoritism is incapable of modernizing the economy, society, [or] the state. The monopoly of privileges, the plundering of public funds, national assets, [and] environmental resources has made members of the highest ranks of power billionaires, at the same time as uncontrollable inflation decimates the incomes and savings of millions of Russian citizens. The pension system is on the verge of bankruptcy. The collapse of the residential, social, and transport infrastructure forces a substantial part of our fellow citizens to struggle for survival. Citizens of Russia ended up deprived of the capability to receive necessary medical service and public education.

The result of policies of discrimination and segregation of citizens became the aggravation of social, multi-ethnic and interfaith conflicts. Many Russian citizens have turned into social outcasts in their own country over social, ethnic and interfaith reasons.

The ruling regime suppresses attempts by citizens to defend their rights and freedoms with the help of propaganda, bribery, arm-twisting, threats, crude police and judicial arbitrariness, violence, terror, [as well as] taking away freedom, property, health and life itself from Russian citizens.

We, the deputies of the National Assembly, call on the citizens of Russia to strive with us for:

  • The emancipation of all political prisoners.
  • The dissolution of all the illegitimately formed bodies of power, including the State Duma.
  • The implementation of universal free and competitive elections with the participation of all existing political parties and organizations.
  • The formation of bodies for representing the people and an Executive Branch [that are] responsible before the Russian people and that carry out the will of Russia’s subjects.
  • The equitable distribution of national wealth, produced by free people.
  • The transformation of Russia into a legal, democratic, secular federal republic.

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