Daily Archives: March 5, 2008

March 5, 2008 — Contents

WEDNESDAY MARCH 5 CONTENTS

(1) Another Original LR Translation: Illarionov’s Call for Action

(2) EDITORIAL: Russians Write Their Own History

(3) Celebrating “Victory,” Putin Style

(4) The Economist Rips Putin a New One

(5) Bayer on Life in America

(6) Ryzhkov on the “Elections”

Another Original LR Translation: Illarionov’s Call for Action, by our Original Translator

February Theses for the Citizens of Russia

Andrey Illarionov

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

February 28, 2008

Recent events – the October-November Bacchanalia of an “election campaign”, the special operation called “02 December 2007”, the military-“Nashisti” occupation of Moscow on 2-6 December, and the special operation now underway known as “02 March 2008” – represent a qualitative break in the situation with Russian society and government. This new situation allows the formulation of a number of key theses.

On the Legitimacy of the Regime

The illegitimate character of the “elections” of December 2, 2007 and March 2, 2008 make claims by their “victors” to have won government office in Russia illegal. That means that not only the elected “State Duma” and its deputies, not only the “president” now being elected, but now also the lower officials being appointed by this Duma and this “president” – all are illegitimate.

On the Risks to Russia

The illegitimacy of the regime is leading it to an even larger-scale use of falsifications, bribery and violence against the citizens of Russia. The creation of absolute power by this illegitimate regime – along with destroying the fundamental institutions of government and society and monopolizing all political, economic and information resources in the hands of the regime’s representatives – enormously increases the level of risk for the country and its people. The main threats today are not so much threats to the economy or people’s well-being as direct threats to people’s security and lives.

On Our Aims – Long-Term and Short-Term

The main objectives for those who consider themselves citizens of Russia will be the prevention of a national catastrophe, ensuring the security of the people, and preserving for Russian society the basic norms of human morality in more difficult less agreeable circumstances. In the final analysis, it will be impossible to achieve these objectives without the replacement of the current regime. There should be no place on Russian soil for the regime of a political and criminal thug.

On the Possibility of a Gradual Evolution of the Regime

The hopes of many that the regime might be changed by nurturing, education and persuasion have been proven baseless. All efforts at changing the regime by cooperating with its leaders have ended in failure. Those who were changed were not the chekistisiloviki [TN: political slang for former intelligence officers in positions of authority in the government]; it was not the siloviki who adopted the norms of civil society, but the representatives of the civil bureaucracy who took up the craft and habits of the siloviki. The current regime in Russia has proven itself to be incapable of internal evolution.

On Cooperation with the Regime

There should be no doubt about it: cooperation with this regime by law-abiding, civil professionals does not weaken the regime, it strengthens it. Attempts to influence officials of the regime through knowledge, argument and logic simply arm the regime intellectually and further strengthen it in the war it is waging against the citizens of Russia.

On Expectations for a Political Thaw

Expectations of a political “thaw”, a possible liberalization and democratization of the current regime in connection with a rotation of personnel in the position of president, have lost all bases. There is nothing in the personal characteristics of tomorrow’s “president” – neither in his education, world view, professional resume, past experience, degree of independence, nor amount of real authority; no sort of new demand for democratic change from the regime’s political base (intelligence officers and bureaucrats, Russian monopolists and the Western political and business leaders); and nothing in the key conditions of modern Russian society – neither in the monopoly on information, repression against opponents, nor the price of oil; there is nothing at all providing any reason to expect genuine – not just stylistic – change for the better. More likely the opposite.

On Ways to Change the Regime

In democratic societies the changeover from one political regime to another occurs as a result of elections – parliamentary or presidential. There is no point in feeding any illusions here: for the Russia of today, this path is closed. Under authoritarian systems of government, the political regime can be overthrown only by revolution, coup, or external occupation. Under conditions in which the regime has a monopoly on the law enforcement and intelligence structures, and taking into consideration the regime’s willingness to use them against peaceful citizens, any call for forcibly changing the regime is tantamount to a call for suicide.

On Violence

A call for violence would be extremely undesirable. Nonetheless, it cannot be entirely ruled out. The law-abiding citizen who is attacked by bandits has the right to self-defense. The presence or absence of uniforms on the bandits at the time of the attack does not make them guardians of order.

On Term Lengths

The terms of the current regime may turn out to be longer than they seem to be or one might hope they are today.

On Unification of the People

Attempts at survival by separate parties, organizations or groups are, in the current situation, doomed. Those few victories the people have enjoyed over the regime in the past few years have been possible only when the people were able to unite: against the monetization of allowances [TN: lgoty, generally given to pensioners or the disabled, consisting of discounted or free food, transportation, utilities, etc.], for the defense of Shcherbinskiy, in the defense of Lake Baikal. Without unity, the people cannot defend their rights in an even limited way.

On a Platform for Unification

Unification of the people of Russia is not possible on either an ideological or political basis. The people of Russia support a wide variety of viewpoints, world views, ideologies and political currents. Formation of a massive political party would be possible only with the help of a totalitarian ideology and military-like discipline, or on the basis of bureaucratic loyalty. Unification of the people can be created only on the basis of moral principles that distinguish the democratic opposition from the authoritarian regime. But unification of the people cannot be constructed solely to oppose the regime; it must have a positive aim as well.

On the Aims of Unification

In Russia today there is no goal more important and no national platform broader than the restoration of civil rights and freedoms, ensuring the primacy of law and independence of mass media, and creating a democratic political system in the country. So a working title for the unification movement might be “Civil Movement” or “Civil Coalition”.

On the Principles of a Civil Movement

The guiding principles of the Civil Movement are for democratic principles in the organization of society and governmental authority: for legal equality of all citizens in Russia, regardless of their situation in life, status, political views, nationality, creed or gender; for tolerance toward the views of others as long as they do not violate the Russian Constitution; for freedom of speech; and for honest political competition. In interactions between the people and the regime’s representatives, the guiding principles remain the rules for existence worked out by the prisoners of the Gulag: “Don’t believe (the regime). Don’t be afraid (of the regime). Don’t ask for anything (from the regime).” It would be worthwhile to add to these a fourth principle: “Don’t cooperate with the regime or participate in its dealings.”

On the Participants in a Civil Movement

Supporters of liberal, conservative, patriotic and socialist points of view could all, within the framework of a Civil Movement, cooperate with each other in the project of creating a free Russia, as long as their joint program for action does not contradict the principles of the inviolability of the individual, legal equality for all citizens, and honest, fair and democratic elections. Advancing various political agendas by participants in the coalition would be possible to the extent that they do not contradict basic civil freedoms and democratic principles for the organization of society and government.

On the West

Any expectation of support – even just moral support – for a Russian civil movement from the political leaders and governments of the West is without basis. For many Western leaders, the current regime in Russia is more convenient, comfortable and pleasant than its opponents would be. Western leaders have accumulated considerable experience in cooperating with and supporting authoritarian regimes in Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The restoration of civil freedooms, legal order and democracy are matters for the Russian people themselves.

On Oil

The increase in the price of oil in recent years was not the reason for the socio-political degradation of the country, and neither will a future drop in price guarantee the civil and political emancipation of Russia. The root of the problem lies not in the molecules of oil, but in the views, ideologies and outlooks on the world that prevail among representatives of the current regime and those parts of Russian society that consider inequality of people under the law, authoritarian organization of government, and use of violence against citizens as possible, tolerable, desirable, and normal.

On Participation in the Special Operation Called “02 March 2008”

Participation by the citizens of Russia in the special operation called “02 March 2008” is unacceptable. Non-participation by citizens in the so-called “presidential elections” as a form of boycott presents the regime with an additional means for falsifying the official results. For citizens concerned about the fate of their country, not trusting the current regime and not desiring to have their own small resource used against them, have one possible course of action remaining: take the ballot home with you.

On Counting the Removed Ballots

Ballots that have been taken home can and should be counted – outside of official voting places and outside the election commission. Counting of the removed ballots is necessary not in order to show the results to the regime, or to convince them of something or mock them. It is necessary for the citizens of Russia to conduct a different election, build a different system of government power, elect a different parliament, and create a different country. Removed ballots might be exchanged for “citizens’ ballots” that could be used to elect members of a Civil Movement proto-parliament.

On the Proto-Parliament

The major project that might unify participants in the Civil Movement could be the formation of a proto-parliament through elections using “citizens’ ballots” that would be received in exchange for unused ballots from the official “presidential election” of March 2. In doing this they could draw on their experience with free elections developed during the “Other Russia” primaries in the Summer-Fall 2007 period. The main objective of the Civil Movement should be the discussion of issues associated with ensuring the security of citizens, restoration of civil freedoms, establishment of legal order, and the creation of a democratic political system in Russia.

On the Basic Program of a Civil Movement

Working out a final program for the Civil Movement will demand time and cooperative work from its participants. But several key requirements for the basic program can be formulated as follows:

1. Immediate release of all political prisoners.

2. Immediate end to all political repression.

3. Immediate elimination of all limits on the activities of the mass media.

4. Elimination of limits and prohibitions on political activities.

5. Restoration of basic civil freedoms, including the sanctity of the individual, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and freedom of assembly and association.

6. Introduction of a criminal prohibition against interference by the executive branch of government in court decisions.

7. Restoration of election laws to what they were as of December 31, 1999.

8. Cancellation of the official results from the special operations of 02 December 2007 and 02 March 2008.

Another Original LR Translation: Illarionov’s Call for Action, by our Original Translator

February Theses for the Citizens of Russia

Andrey Illarionov

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

February 28, 2008

Recent events – the October-November Bacchanalia of an “election campaign”, the special operation called “02 December 2007”, the military-“Nashisti” occupation of Moscow on 2-6 December, and the special operation now underway known as “02 March 2008” – represent a qualitative break in the situation with Russian society and government. This new situation allows the formulation of a number of key theses.

On the Legitimacy of the Regime

The illegitimate character of the “elections” of December 2, 2007 and March 2, 2008 make claims by their “victors” to have won government office in Russia illegal. That means that not only the elected “State Duma” and its deputies, not only the “president” now being elected, but now also the lower officials being appointed by this Duma and this “president” – all are illegitimate.

On the Risks to Russia

The illegitimacy of the regime is leading it to an even larger-scale use of falsifications, bribery and violence against the citizens of Russia. The creation of absolute power by this illegitimate regime – along with destroying the fundamental institutions of government and society and monopolizing all political, economic and information resources in the hands of the regime’s representatives – enormously increases the level of risk for the country and its people. The main threats today are not so much threats to the economy or people’s well-being as direct threats to people’s security and lives.

On Our Aims – Long-Term and Short-Term

The main objectives for those who consider themselves citizens of Russia will be the prevention of a national catastrophe, ensuring the security of the people, and preserving for Russian society the basic norms of human morality in more difficult less agreeable circumstances. In the final analysis, it will be impossible to achieve these objectives without the replacement of the current regime. There should be no place on Russian soil for the regime of a political and criminal thug.

On the Possibility of a Gradual Evolution of the Regime

The hopes of many that the regime might be changed by nurturing, education and persuasion have been proven baseless. All efforts at changing the regime by cooperating with its leaders have ended in failure. Those who were changed were not the chekistisiloviki [TN: political slang for former intelligence officers in positions of authority in the government]; it was not the siloviki who adopted the norms of civil society, but the representatives of the civil bureaucracy who took up the craft and habits of the siloviki. The current regime in Russia has proven itself to be incapable of internal evolution.

On Cooperation with the Regime

There should be no doubt about it: cooperation with this regime by law-abiding, civil professionals does not weaken the regime, it strengthens it. Attempts to influence officials of the regime through knowledge, argument and logic simply arm the regime intellectually and further strengthen it in the war it is waging against the citizens of Russia.

On Expectations for a Political Thaw

Expectations of a political “thaw”, a possible liberalization and democratization of the current regime in connection with a rotation of personnel in the position of president, have lost all bases. There is nothing in the personal characteristics of tomorrow’s “president” – neither in his education, world view, professional resume, past experience, degree of independence, nor amount of real authority; no sort of new demand for democratic change from the regime’s political base (intelligence officers and bureaucrats, Russian monopolists and the Western political and business leaders); and nothing in the key conditions of modern Russian society – neither in the monopoly on information, repression against opponents, nor the price of oil; there is nothing at all providing any reason to expect genuine – not just stylistic – change for the better. More likely the opposite.

On Ways to Change the Regime

In democratic societies the changeover from one political regime to another occurs as a result of elections – parliamentary or presidential. There is no point in feeding any illusions here: for the Russia of today, this path is closed. Under authoritarian systems of government, the political regime can be overthrown only by revolution, coup, or external occupation. Under conditions in which the regime has a monopoly on the law enforcement and intelligence structures, and taking into consideration the regime’s willingness to use them against peaceful citizens, any call for forcibly changing the regime is tantamount to a call for suicide.

On Violence

A call for violence would be extremely undesirable. Nonetheless, it cannot be entirely ruled out. The law-abiding citizen who is attacked by bandits has the right to self-defense. The presence or absence of uniforms on the bandits at the time of the attack does not make them guardians of order.

On Term Lengths

The terms of the current regime may turn out to be longer than they seem to be or one might hope they are today.

On Unification of the People

Attempts at survival by separate parties, organizations or groups are, in the current situation, doomed. Those few victories the people have enjoyed over the regime in the past few years have been possible only when the people were able to unite: against the monetization of allowances [TN: lgoty, generally given to pensioners or the disabled, consisting of discounted or free food, transportation, utilities, etc.], for the defense of Shcherbinskiy, in the defense of Lake Baikal. Without unity, the people cannot defend their rights in an even limited way.

On a Platform for Unification

Unification of the people of Russia is not possible on either an ideological or political basis. The people of Russia support a wide variety of viewpoints, world views, ideologies and political currents. Formation of a massive political party would be possible only with the help of a totalitarian ideology and military-like discipline, or on the basis of bureaucratic loyalty. Unification of the people can be created only on the basis of moral principles that distinguish the democratic opposition from the authoritarian regime. But unification of the people cannot be constructed solely to oppose the regime; it must have a positive aim as well.

On the Aims of Unification

In Russia today there is no goal more important and no national platform broader than the restoration of civil rights and freedoms, ensuring the primacy of law and independence of mass media, and creating a democratic political system in the country. So a working title for the unification movement might be “Civil Movement” or “Civil Coalition”.

On the Principles of a Civil Movement

The guiding principles of the Civil Movement are for democratic principles in the organization of society and governmental authority: for legal equality of all citizens in Russia, regardless of their situation in life, status, political views, nationality, creed or gender; for tolerance toward the views of others as long as they do not violate the Russian Constitution; for freedom of speech; and for honest political competition. In interactions between the people and the regime’s representatives, the guiding principles remain the rules for existence worked out by the prisoners of the Gulag: “Don’t believe (the regime). Don’t be afraid (of the regime). Don’t ask for anything (from the regime).” It would be worthwhile to add to these a fourth principle: “Don’t cooperate with the regime or participate in its dealings.”

On the Participants in a Civil Movement

Supporters of liberal, conservative, patriotic and socialist points of view could all, within the framework of a Civil Movement, cooperate with each other in the project of creating a free Russia, as long as their joint program for action does not contradict the principles of the inviolability of the individual, legal equality for all citizens, and honest, fair and democratic elections. Advancing various political agendas by participants in the coalition would be possible to the extent that they do not contradict basic civil freedoms and democratic principles for the organization of society and government.

On the West

Any expectation of support – even just moral support – for a Russian civil movement from the political leaders and governments of the West is without basis. For many Western leaders, the current regime in Russia is more convenient, comfortable and pleasant than its opponents would be. Western leaders have accumulated considerable experience in cooperating with and supporting authoritarian regimes in Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The restoration of civil freedooms, legal order and democracy are matters for the Russian people themselves.

On Oil

The increase in the price of oil in recent years was not the reason for the socio-political degradation of the country, and neither will a future drop in price guarantee the civil and political emancipation of Russia. The root of the problem lies not in the molecules of oil, but in the views, ideologies and outlooks on the world that prevail among representatives of the current regime and those parts of Russian society that consider inequality of people under the law, authoritarian organization of government, and use of violence against citizens as possible, tolerable, desirable, and normal.

On Participation in the Special Operation Called “02 March 2008”

Participation by the citizens of Russia in the special operation called “02 March 2008” is unacceptable. Non-participation by citizens in the so-called “presidential elections” as a form of boycott presents the regime with an additional means for falsifying the official results. For citizens concerned about the fate of their country, not trusting the current regime and not desiring to have their own small resource used against them, have one possible course of action remaining: take the ballot home with you.

On Counting the Removed Ballots

Ballots that have been taken home can and should be counted – outside of official voting places and outside the election commission. Counting of the removed ballots is necessary not in order to show the results to the regime, or to convince them of something or mock them. It is necessary for the citizens of Russia to conduct a different election, build a different system of government power, elect a different parliament, and create a different country. Removed ballots might be exchanged for “citizens’ ballots” that could be used to elect members of a Civil Movement proto-parliament.

On the Proto-Parliament

The major project that might unify participants in the Civil Movement could be the formation of a proto-parliament through elections using “citizens’ ballots” that would be received in exchange for unused ballots from the official “presidential election” of March 2. In doing this they could draw on their experience with free elections developed during the “Other Russia” primaries in the Summer-Fall 2007 period. The main objective of the Civil Movement should be the discussion of issues associated with ensuring the security of citizens, restoration of civil freedoms, establishment of legal order, and the creation of a democratic political system in Russia.

On the Basic Program of a Civil Movement

Working out a final program for the Civil Movement will demand time and cooperative work from its participants. But several key requirements for the basic program can be formulated as follows:

1. Immediate release of all political prisoners.

2. Immediate end to all political repression.

3. Immediate elimination of all limits on the activities of the mass media.

4. Elimination of limits and prohibitions on political activities.

5. Restoration of basic civil freedoms, including the sanctity of the individual, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and freedom of assembly and association.

6. Introduction of a criminal prohibition against interference by the executive branch of government in court decisions.

7. Restoration of election laws to what they were as of December 31, 1999.

8. Cancellation of the official results from the special operations of 02 December 2007 and 02 March 2008.

Another Original LR Translation: Illarionov’s Call for Action, by our Original Translator

February Theses for the Citizens of Russia

Andrey Illarionov

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

February 28, 2008

Recent events – the October-November Bacchanalia of an “election campaign”, the special operation called “02 December 2007”, the military-“Nashisti” occupation of Moscow on 2-6 December, and the special operation now underway known as “02 March 2008” – represent a qualitative break in the situation with Russian society and government. This new situation allows the formulation of a number of key theses.

On the Legitimacy of the Regime

The illegitimate character of the “elections” of December 2, 2007 and March 2, 2008 make claims by their “victors” to have won government office in Russia illegal. That means that not only the elected “State Duma” and its deputies, not only the “president” now being elected, but now also the lower officials being appointed by this Duma and this “president” – all are illegitimate.

On the Risks to Russia

The illegitimacy of the regime is leading it to an even larger-scale use of falsifications, bribery and violence against the citizens of Russia. The creation of absolute power by this illegitimate regime – along with destroying the fundamental institutions of government and society and monopolizing all political, economic and information resources in the hands of the regime’s representatives – enormously increases the level of risk for the country and its people. The main threats today are not so much threats to the economy or people’s well-being as direct threats to people’s security and lives.

On Our Aims – Long-Term and Short-Term

The main objectives for those who consider themselves citizens of Russia will be the prevention of a national catastrophe, ensuring the security of the people, and preserving for Russian society the basic norms of human morality in more difficult less agreeable circumstances. In the final analysis, it will be impossible to achieve these objectives without the replacement of the current regime. There should be no place on Russian soil for the regime of a political and criminal thug.

On the Possibility of a Gradual Evolution of the Regime

The hopes of many that the regime might be changed by nurturing, education and persuasion have been proven baseless. All efforts at changing the regime by cooperating with its leaders have ended in failure. Those who were changed were not the chekistisiloviki [TN: political slang for former intelligence officers in positions of authority in the government]; it was not the siloviki who adopted the norms of civil society, but the representatives of the civil bureaucracy who took up the craft and habits of the siloviki. The current regime in Russia has proven itself to be incapable of internal evolution.

On Cooperation with the Regime

There should be no doubt about it: cooperation with this regime by law-abiding, civil professionals does not weaken the regime, it strengthens it. Attempts to influence officials of the regime through knowledge, argument and logic simply arm the regime intellectually and further strengthen it in the war it is waging against the citizens of Russia.

On Expectations for a Political Thaw

Expectations of a political “thaw”, a possible liberalization and democratization of the current regime in connection with a rotation of personnel in the position of president, have lost all bases. There is nothing in the personal characteristics of tomorrow’s “president” – neither in his education, world view, professional resume, past experience, degree of independence, nor amount of real authority; no sort of new demand for democratic change from the regime’s political base (intelligence officers and bureaucrats, Russian monopolists and the Western political and business leaders); and nothing in the key conditions of modern Russian society – neither in the monopoly on information, repression against opponents, nor the price of oil; there is nothing at all providing any reason to expect genuine – not just stylistic – change for the better. More likely the opposite.

On Ways to Change the Regime

In democratic societies the changeover from one political regime to another occurs as a result of elections – parliamentary or presidential. There is no point in feeding any illusions here: for the Russia of today, this path is closed. Under authoritarian systems of government, the political regime can be overthrown only by revolution, coup, or external occupation. Under conditions in which the regime has a monopoly on the law enforcement and intelligence structures, and taking into consideration the regime’s willingness to use them against peaceful citizens, any call for forcibly changing the regime is tantamount to a call for suicide.

On Violence

A call for violence would be extremely undesirable. Nonetheless, it cannot be entirely ruled out. The law-abiding citizen who is attacked by bandits has the right to self-defense. The presence or absence of uniforms on the bandits at the time of the attack does not make them guardians of order.

On Term Lengths

The terms of the current regime may turn out to be longer than they seem to be or one might hope they are today.

On Unification of the People

Attempts at survival by separate parties, organizations or groups are, in the current situation, doomed. Those few victories the people have enjoyed over the regime in the past few years have been possible only when the people were able to unite: against the monetization of allowances [TN: lgoty, generally given to pensioners or the disabled, consisting of discounted or free food, transportation, utilities, etc.], for the defense of Shcherbinskiy, in the defense of Lake Baikal. Without unity, the people cannot defend their rights in an even limited way.

On a Platform for Unification

Unification of the people of Russia is not possible on either an ideological or political basis. The people of Russia support a wide variety of viewpoints, world views, ideologies and political currents. Formation of a massive political party would be possible only with the help of a totalitarian ideology and military-like discipline, or on the basis of bureaucratic loyalty. Unification of the people can be created only on the basis of moral principles that distinguish the democratic opposition from the authoritarian regime. But unification of the people cannot be constructed solely to oppose the regime; it must have a positive aim as well.

On the Aims of Unification

In Russia today there is no goal more important and no national platform broader than the restoration of civil rights and freedoms, ensuring the primacy of law and independence of mass media, and creating a democratic political system in the country. So a working title for the unification movement might be “Civil Movement” or “Civil Coalition”.

On the Principles of a Civil Movement

The guiding principles of the Civil Movement are for democratic principles in the organization of society and governmental authority: for legal equality of all citizens in Russia, regardless of their situation in life, status, political views, nationality, creed or gender; for tolerance toward the views of others as long as they do not violate the Russian Constitution; for freedom of speech; and for honest political competition. In interactions between the people and the regime’s representatives, the guiding principles remain the rules for existence worked out by the prisoners of the Gulag: “Don’t believe (the regime). Don’t be afraid (of the regime). Don’t ask for anything (from the regime).” It would be worthwhile to add to these a fourth principle: “Don’t cooperate with the regime or participate in its dealings.”

On the Participants in a Civil Movement

Supporters of liberal, conservative, patriotic and socialist points of view could all, within the framework of a Civil Movement, cooperate with each other in the project of creating a free Russia, as long as their joint program for action does not contradict the principles of the inviolability of the individual, legal equality for all citizens, and honest, fair and democratic elections. Advancing various political agendas by participants in the coalition would be possible to the extent that they do not contradict basic civil freedoms and democratic principles for the organization of society and government.

On the West

Any expectation of support – even just moral support – for a Russian civil movement from the political leaders and governments of the West is without basis. For many Western leaders, the current regime in Russia is more convenient, comfortable and pleasant than its opponents would be. Western leaders have accumulated considerable experience in cooperating with and supporting authoritarian regimes in Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The restoration of civil freedooms, legal order and democracy are matters for the Russian people themselves.

On Oil

The increase in the price of oil in recent years was not the reason for the socio-political degradation of the country, and neither will a future drop in price guarantee the civil and political emancipation of Russia. The root of the problem lies not in the molecules of oil, but in the views, ideologies and outlooks on the world that prevail among representatives of the current regime and those parts of Russian society that consider inequality of people under the law, authoritarian organization of government, and use of violence against citizens as possible, tolerable, desirable, and normal.

On Participation in the Special Operation Called “02 March 2008”

Participation by the citizens of Russia in the special operation called “02 March 2008” is unacceptable. Non-participation by citizens in the so-called “presidential elections” as a form of boycott presents the regime with an additional means for falsifying the official results. For citizens concerned about the fate of their country, not trusting the current regime and not desiring to have their own small resource used against them, have one possible course of action remaining: take the ballot home with you.

On Counting the Removed Ballots

Ballots that have been taken home can and should be counted – outside of official voting places and outside the election commission. Counting of the removed ballots is necessary not in order to show the results to the regime, or to convince them of something or mock them. It is necessary for the citizens of Russia to conduct a different election, build a different system of government power, elect a different parliament, and create a different country. Removed ballots might be exchanged for “citizens’ ballots” that could be used to elect members of a Civil Movement proto-parliament.

On the Proto-Parliament

The major project that might unify participants in the Civil Movement could be the formation of a proto-parliament through elections using “citizens’ ballots” that would be received in exchange for unused ballots from the official “presidential election” of March 2. In doing this they could draw on their experience with free elections developed during the “Other Russia” primaries in the Summer-Fall 2007 period. The main objective of the Civil Movement should be the discussion of issues associated with ensuring the security of citizens, restoration of civil freedoms, establishment of legal order, and the creation of a democratic political system in Russia.

On the Basic Program of a Civil Movement

Working out a final program for the Civil Movement will demand time and cooperative work from its participants. But several key requirements for the basic program can be formulated as follows:

1. Immediate release of all political prisoners.

2. Immediate end to all political repression.

3. Immediate elimination of all limits on the activities of the mass media.

4. Elimination of limits and prohibitions on political activities.

5. Restoration of basic civil freedoms, including the sanctity of the individual, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and freedom of assembly and association.

6. Introduction of a criminal prohibition against interference by the executive branch of government in court decisions.

7. Restoration of election laws to what they were as of December 31, 1999.

8. Cancellation of the official results from the special operations of 02 December 2007 and 02 March 2008.

Another Original LR Translation: Illarionov’s Call for Action, by our Original Translator

February Theses for the Citizens of Russia

Andrey Illarionov

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

February 28, 2008

Recent events – the October-November Bacchanalia of an “election campaign”, the special operation called “02 December 2007”, the military-“Nashisti” occupation of Moscow on 2-6 December, and the special operation now underway known as “02 March 2008” – represent a qualitative break in the situation with Russian society and government. This new situation allows the formulation of a number of key theses.

On the Legitimacy of the Regime

The illegitimate character of the “elections” of December 2, 2007 and March 2, 2008 make claims by their “victors” to have won government office in Russia illegal. That means that not only the elected “State Duma” and its deputies, not only the “president” now being elected, but now also the lower officials being appointed by this Duma and this “president” – all are illegitimate.

On the Risks to Russia

The illegitimacy of the regime is leading it to an even larger-scale use of falsifications, bribery and violence against the citizens of Russia. The creation of absolute power by this illegitimate regime – along with destroying the fundamental institutions of government and society and monopolizing all political, economic and information resources in the hands of the regime’s representatives – enormously increases the level of risk for the country and its people. The main threats today are not so much threats to the economy or people’s well-being as direct threats to people’s security and lives.

On Our Aims – Long-Term and Short-Term

The main objectives for those who consider themselves citizens of Russia will be the prevention of a national catastrophe, ensuring the security of the people, and preserving for Russian society the basic norms of human morality in more difficult less agreeable circumstances. In the final analysis, it will be impossible to achieve these objectives without the replacement of the current regime. There should be no place on Russian soil for the regime of a political and criminal thug.

On the Possibility of a Gradual Evolution of the Regime

The hopes of many that the regime might be changed by nurturing, education and persuasion have been proven baseless. All efforts at changing the regime by cooperating with its leaders have ended in failure. Those who were changed were not the chekistisiloviki [TN: political slang for former intelligence officers in positions of authority in the government]; it was not the siloviki who adopted the norms of civil society, but the representatives of the civil bureaucracy who took up the craft and habits of the siloviki. The current regime in Russia has proven itself to be incapable of internal evolution.

On Cooperation with the Regime

There should be no doubt about it: cooperation with this regime by law-abiding, civil professionals does not weaken the regime, it strengthens it. Attempts to influence officials of the regime through knowledge, argument and logic simply arm the regime intellectually and further strengthen it in the war it is waging against the citizens of Russia.

On Expectations for a Political Thaw

Expectations of a political “thaw”, a possible liberalization and democratization of the current regime in connection with a rotation of personnel in the position of president, have lost all bases. There is nothing in the personal characteristics of tomorrow’s “president” – neither in his education, world view, professional resume, past experience, degree of independence, nor amount of real authority; no sort of new demand for democratic change from the regime’s political base (intelligence officers and bureaucrats, Russian monopolists and the Western political and business leaders); and nothing in the key conditions of modern Russian society – neither in the monopoly on information, repression against opponents, nor the price of oil; there is nothing at all providing any reason to expect genuine – not just stylistic – change for the better. More likely the opposite.

On Ways to Change the Regime

In democratic societies the changeover from one political regime to another occurs as a result of elections – parliamentary or presidential. There is no point in feeding any illusions here: for the Russia of today, this path is closed. Under authoritarian systems of government, the political regime can be overthrown only by revolution, coup, or external occupation. Under conditions in which the regime has a monopoly on the law enforcement and intelligence structures, and taking into consideration the regime’s willingness to use them against peaceful citizens, any call for forcibly changing the regime is tantamount to a call for suicide.

On Violence

A call for violence would be extremely undesirable. Nonetheless, it cannot be entirely ruled out. The law-abiding citizen who is attacked by bandits has the right to self-defense. The presence or absence of uniforms on the bandits at the time of the attack does not make them guardians of order.

On Term Lengths

The terms of the current regime may turn out to be longer than they seem to be or one might hope they are today.

On Unification of the People

Attempts at survival by separate parties, organizations or groups are, in the current situation, doomed. Those few victories the people have enjoyed over the regime in the past few years have been possible only when the people were able to unite: against the monetization of allowances [TN: lgoty, generally given to pensioners or the disabled, consisting of discounted or free food, transportation, utilities, etc.], for the defense of Shcherbinskiy, in the defense of Lake Baikal. Without unity, the people cannot defend their rights in an even limited way.

On a Platform for Unification

Unification of the people of Russia is not possible on either an ideological or political basis. The people of Russia support a wide variety of viewpoints, world views, ideologies and political currents. Formation of a massive political party would be possible only with the help of a totalitarian ideology and military-like discipline, or on the basis of bureaucratic loyalty. Unification of the people can be created only on the basis of moral principles that distinguish the democratic opposition from the authoritarian regime. But unification of the people cannot be constructed solely to oppose the regime; it must have a positive aim as well.

On the Aims of Unification

In Russia today there is no goal more important and no national platform broader than the restoration of civil rights and freedoms, ensuring the primacy of law and independence of mass media, and creating a democratic political system in the country. So a working title for the unification movement might be “Civil Movement” or “Civil Coalition”.

On the Principles of a Civil Movement

The guiding principles of the Civil Movement are for democratic principles in the organization of society and governmental authority: for legal equality of all citizens in Russia, regardless of their situation in life, status, political views, nationality, creed or gender; for tolerance toward the views of others as long as they do not violate the Russian Constitution; for freedom of speech; and for honest political competition. In interactions between the people and the regime’s representatives, the guiding principles remain the rules for existence worked out by the prisoners of the Gulag: “Don’t believe (the regime). Don’t be afraid (of the regime). Don’t ask for anything (from the regime).” It would be worthwhile to add to these a fourth principle: “Don’t cooperate with the regime or participate in its dealings.”

On the Participants in a Civil Movement

Supporters of liberal, conservative, patriotic and socialist points of view could all, within the framework of a Civil Movement, cooperate with each other in the project of creating a free Russia, as long as their joint program for action does not contradict the principles of the inviolability of the individual, legal equality for all citizens, and honest, fair and democratic elections. Advancing various political agendas by participants in the coalition would be possible to the extent that they do not contradict basic civil freedoms and democratic principles for the organization of society and government.

On the West

Any expectation of support – even just moral support – for a Russian civil movement from the political leaders and governments of the West is without basis. For many Western leaders, the current regime in Russia is more convenient, comfortable and pleasant than its opponents would be. Western leaders have accumulated considerable experience in cooperating with and supporting authoritarian regimes in Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The restoration of civil freedooms, legal order and democracy are matters for the Russian people themselves.

On Oil

The increase in the price of oil in recent years was not the reason for the socio-political degradation of the country, and neither will a future drop in price guarantee the civil and political emancipation of Russia. The root of the problem lies not in the molecules of oil, but in the views, ideologies and outlooks on the world that prevail among representatives of the current regime and those parts of Russian society that consider inequality of people under the law, authoritarian organization of government, and use of violence against citizens as possible, tolerable, desirable, and normal.

On Participation in the Special Operation Called “02 March 2008”

Participation by the citizens of Russia in the special operation called “02 March 2008” is unacceptable. Non-participation by citizens in the so-called “presidential elections” as a form of boycott presents the regime with an additional means for falsifying the official results. For citizens concerned about the fate of their country, not trusting the current regime and not desiring to have their own small resource used against them, have one possible course of action remaining: take the ballot home with you.

On Counting the Removed Ballots

Ballots that have been taken home can and should be counted – outside of official voting places and outside the election commission. Counting of the removed ballots is necessary not in order to show the results to the regime, or to convince them of something or mock them. It is necessary for the citizens of Russia to conduct a different election, build a different system of government power, elect a different parliament, and create a different country. Removed ballots might be exchanged for “citizens’ ballots” that could be used to elect members of a Civil Movement proto-parliament.

On the Proto-Parliament

The major project that might unify participants in the Civil Movement could be the formation of a proto-parliament through elections using “citizens’ ballots” that would be received in exchange for unused ballots from the official “presidential election” of March 2. In doing this they could draw on their experience with free elections developed during the “Other Russia” primaries in the Summer-Fall 2007 period. The main objective of the Civil Movement should be the discussion of issues associated with ensuring the security of citizens, restoration of civil freedoms, establishment of legal order, and the creation of a democratic political system in Russia.

On the Basic Program of a Civil Movement

Working out a final program for the Civil Movement will demand time and cooperative work from its participants. But several key requirements for the basic program can be formulated as follows:

1. Immediate release of all political prisoners.

2. Immediate end to all political repression.

3. Immediate elimination of all limits on the activities of the mass media.

4. Elimination of limits and prohibitions on political activities.

5. Restoration of basic civil freedoms, including the sanctity of the individual, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and freedom of assembly and association.

6. Introduction of a criminal prohibition against interference by the executive branch of government in court decisions.

7. Restoration of election laws to what they were as of December 31, 1999.

8. Cancellation of the official results from the special operations of 02 December 2007 and 02 March 2008.

Another Original LR Translation: Illarionov’s Call for Action, by our Original Translator

February Theses for the Citizens of Russia

Andrey Illarionov

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

February 28, 2008

Recent events – the October-November Bacchanalia of an “election campaign”, the special operation called “02 December 2007”, the military-“Nashisti” occupation of Moscow on 2-6 December, and the special operation now underway known as “02 March 2008” – represent a qualitative break in the situation with Russian society and government. This new situation allows the formulation of a number of key theses.

On the Legitimacy of the Regime

The illegitimate character of the “elections” of December 2, 2007 and March 2, 2008 make claims by their “victors” to have won government office in Russia illegal. That means that not only the elected “State Duma” and its deputies, not only the “president” now being elected, but now also the lower officials being appointed by this Duma and this “president” – all are illegitimate.

On the Risks to Russia

The illegitimacy of the regime is leading it to an even larger-scale use of falsifications, bribery and violence against the citizens of Russia. The creation of absolute power by this illegitimate regime – along with destroying the fundamental institutions of government and society and monopolizing all political, economic and information resources in the hands of the regime’s representatives – enormously increases the level of risk for the country and its people. The main threats today are not so much threats to the economy or people’s well-being as direct threats to people’s security and lives.

On Our Aims – Long-Term and Short-Term

The main objectives for those who consider themselves citizens of Russia will be the prevention of a national catastrophe, ensuring the security of the people, and preserving for Russian society the basic norms of human morality in more difficult less agreeable circumstances. In the final analysis, it will be impossible to achieve these objectives without the replacement of the current regime. There should be no place on Russian soil for the regime of a political and criminal thug.

On the Possibility of a Gradual Evolution of the Regime

The hopes of many that the regime might be changed by nurturing, education and persuasion have been proven baseless. All efforts at changing the regime by cooperating with its leaders have ended in failure. Those who were changed were not the chekistisiloviki [TN: political slang for former intelligence officers in positions of authority in the government]; it was not the siloviki who adopted the norms of civil society, but the representatives of the civil bureaucracy who took up the craft and habits of the siloviki. The current regime in Russia has proven itself to be incapable of internal evolution.

On Cooperation with the Regime

There should be no doubt about it: cooperation with this regime by law-abiding, civil professionals does not weaken the regime, it strengthens it. Attempts to influence officials of the regime through knowledge, argument and logic simply arm the regime intellectually and further strengthen it in the war it is waging against the citizens of Russia.

On Expectations for a Political Thaw

Expectations of a political “thaw”, a possible liberalization and democratization of the current regime in connection with a rotation of personnel in the position of president, have lost all bases. There is nothing in the personal characteristics of tomorrow’s “president” – neither in his education, world view, professional resume, past experience, degree of independence, nor amount of real authority; no sort of new demand for democratic change from the regime’s political base (intelligence officers and bureaucrats, Russian monopolists and the Western political and business leaders); and nothing in the key conditions of modern Russian society – neither in the monopoly on information, repression against opponents, nor the price of oil; there is nothing at all providing any reason to expect genuine – not just stylistic – change for the better. More likely the opposite.

On Ways to Change the Regime

In democratic societies the changeover from one political regime to another occurs as a result of elections – parliamentary or presidential. There is no point in feeding any illusions here: for the Russia of today, this path is closed. Under authoritarian systems of government, the political regime can be overthrown only by revolution, coup, or external occupation. Under conditions in which the regime has a monopoly on the law enforcement and intelligence structures, and taking into consideration the regime’s willingness to use them against peaceful citizens, any call for forcibly changing the regime is tantamount to a call for suicide.

On Violence

A call for violence would be extremely undesirable. Nonetheless, it cannot be entirely ruled out. The law-abiding citizen who is attacked by bandits has the right to self-defense. The presence or absence of uniforms on the bandits at the time of the attack does not make them guardians of order.

On Term Lengths

The terms of the current regime may turn out to be longer than they seem to be or one might hope they are today.

On Unification of the People

Attempts at survival by separate parties, organizations or groups are, in the current situation, doomed. Those few victories the people have enjoyed over the regime in the past few years have been possible only when the people were able to unite: against the monetization of allowances [TN: lgoty, generally given to pensioners or the disabled, consisting of discounted or free food, transportation, utilities, etc.], for the defense of Shcherbinskiy, in the defense of Lake Baikal. Without unity, the people cannot defend their rights in an even limited way.

On a Platform for Unification

Unification of the people of Russia is not possible on either an ideological or political basis. The people of Russia support a wide variety of viewpoints, world views, ideologies and political currents. Formation of a massive political party would be possible only with the help of a totalitarian ideology and military-like discipline, or on the basis of bureaucratic loyalty. Unification of the people can be created only on the basis of moral principles that distinguish the democratic opposition from the authoritarian regime. But unification of the people cannot be constructed solely to oppose the regime; it must have a positive aim as well.

On the Aims of Unification

In Russia today there is no goal more important and no national platform broader than the restoration of civil rights and freedoms, ensuring the primacy of law and independence of mass media, and creating a democratic political system in the country. So a working title for the unification movement might be “Civil Movement” or “Civil Coalition”.

On the Principles of a Civil Movement

The guiding principles of the Civil Movement are for democratic principles in the organization of society and governmental authority: for legal equality of all citizens in Russia, regardless of their situation in life, status, political views, nationality, creed or gender; for tolerance toward the views of others as long as they do not violate the Russian Constitution; for freedom of speech; and for honest political competition. In interactions between the people and the regime’s representatives, the guiding principles remain the rules for existence worked out by the prisoners of the Gulag: “Don’t believe (the regime). Don’t be afraid (of the regime). Don’t ask for anything (from the regime).” It would be worthwhile to add to these a fourth principle: “Don’t cooperate with the regime or participate in its dealings.”

On the Participants in a Civil Movement

Supporters of liberal, conservative, patriotic and socialist points of view could all, within the framework of a Civil Movement, cooperate with each other in the project of creating a free Russia, as long as their joint program for action does not contradict the principles of the inviolability of the individual, legal equality for all citizens, and honest, fair and democratic elections. Advancing various political agendas by participants in the coalition would be possible to the extent that they do not contradict basic civil freedoms and democratic principles for the organization of society and government.

On the West

Any expectation of support – even just moral support – for a Russian civil movement from the political leaders and governments of the West is without basis. For many Western leaders, the current regime in Russia is more convenient, comfortable and pleasant than its opponents would be. Western leaders have accumulated considerable experience in cooperating with and supporting authoritarian regimes in Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The restoration of civil freedooms, legal order and democracy are matters for the Russian people themselves.

On Oil

The increase in the price of oil in recent years was not the reason for the socio-political degradation of the country, and neither will a future drop in price guarantee the civil and political emancipation of Russia. The root of the problem lies not in the molecules of oil, but in the views, ideologies and outlooks on the world that prevail among representatives of the current regime and those parts of Russian society that consider inequality of people under the law, authoritarian organization of government, and use of violence against citizens as possible, tolerable, desirable, and normal.

On Participation in the Special Operation Called “02 March 2008”

Participation by the citizens of Russia in the special operation called “02 March 2008” is unacceptable. Non-participation by citizens in the so-called “presidential elections” as a form of boycott presents the regime with an additional means for falsifying the official results. For citizens concerned about the fate of their country, not trusting the current regime and not desiring to have their own small resource used against them, have one possible course of action remaining: take the ballot home with you.

On Counting the Removed Ballots

Ballots that have been taken home can and should be counted – outside of official voting places and outside the election commission. Counting of the removed ballots is necessary not in order to show the results to the regime, or to convince them of something or mock them. It is necessary for the citizens of Russia to conduct a different election, build a different system of government power, elect a different parliament, and create a different country. Removed ballots might be exchanged for “citizens’ ballots” that could be used to elect members of a Civil Movement proto-parliament.

On the Proto-Parliament

The major project that might unify participants in the Civil Movement could be the formation of a proto-parliament through elections using “citizens’ ballots” that would be received in exchange for unused ballots from the official “presidential election” of March 2. In doing this they could draw on their experience with free elections developed during the “Other Russia” primaries in the Summer-Fall 2007 period. The main objective of the Civil Movement should be the discussion of issues associated with ensuring the security of citizens, restoration of civil freedoms, establishment of legal order, and the creation of a democratic political system in Russia.

On the Basic Program of a Civil Movement

Working out a final program for the Civil Movement will demand time and cooperative work from its participants. But several key requirements for the basic program can be formulated as follows:

1. Immediate release of all political prisoners.

2. Immediate end to all political repression.

3. Immediate elimination of all limits on the activities of the mass media.

4. Elimination of limits and prohibitions on political activities.

5. Restoration of basic civil freedoms, including the sanctity of the individual, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and freedom of assembly and association.

6. Introduction of a criminal prohibition against interference by the executive branch of government in court decisions.

7. Restoration of election laws to what they were as of December 31, 1999.

8. Cancellation of the official results from the special operations of 02 December 2007 and 02 March 2008.

EDITORIAL: Russians Write Their Own History

EDITORIAL

Russians Write Their Own History

In the “presidential elections” held last Sunday, just under 70% of eligible Russians supposedly went to the polls and just over 70% of them supposedly voted for the dictator Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked “successor” Dimitri Medvedev. That means that, in the best-case scenario for the Kremlin, less than half of all registered Russians went to the polls on election day and cast a vote for Medvedev.

In other words, neither we nor the Kremlin has any idea what the majority of the country wanted, even if we accept the Kremlin’s numbers — which we know are false based on evidence gleaned from the parliamentary ballot a few months ago, when Putin’s lowest level of support across the entire country was received in his own home city, St. Petersburg. The tiny handful of elections observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stated that “election repeated most of the flaws revealed during the Duma elections of December 2007. Equal access of the candidates to the media and the public sphere in general has not improved, putting into question the fairness of the election.”

This is the very most optimistic thing you can say about the people of Russia. They didn’t really support the Putin regime nearly as fully or enthusiastically as the Kremlin is claiming. Look any deeper, though, and what you see is truly appalling. It’s barbarism, pure and simple.

The results show that, as they have shown many times before, if Russian “voters” couldn’t have Medvedev, the anointed proxy of a proud KGB spy, then their second choice was a Communist (Gennady Zyuganov).

In 1984, Republican Ronald Reagan was reelected president with the support of 49 of the 50 American states. At that time one of the most popular figures in American electoral history, Reagan collected just 59% of the vote, far less than the share taken by Medvedev, a totally unproven unknown. In Franklin Roosevelt’s best of four election performances, his first reelection in 1936, his result was almost exactly the same (61%, losing two states). FDR was the only president ever elected to a third term, so popular was he in his prime, yet his share of the vote was likewise far behind that of Medvedev, who has never accomplished a single thing for Russia. No president in American history has come remotely close to securing 70% of the popular vote but Dmitri Medvedev, a walking cipher, a sycophant, exceed the performances of Reagan and FDR by a whopping 16% even though inflation is spiraling out of control, Russia’s relations with foreign countries have never been worse, corruption and human rights abuses are rampant and the country is losing hundreds of thousands from its population ever year due to unremedied sickness from a thousand sources.

Medvedev did not debate, face critical TV advertising or criticize any aspect of the Putin administration.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated: “These are free and democratic elections, and they were preceded by a free and democratic campaign.” Yet, the Moscow Times reported:

One independent observer told The Moscow Times that a less subtle approach was used at Polling Station No. 1513 in the Pechatniki district in southeast Moscow. The observer, Roman Udot, said he peered through the slots of both the sealed ballot boxes at the polling station and saw neatly stacked ballots, despite the fact that voting had not yet begun. The top ballot in each stack had a mark next to Medvedev’s name, Udot said. He managed to take a photograph of the stack of ballots in one of the boxes and posted the pictures on his blog, romanik.livejournal.com. The photographs appear to support his claim. “I reported this to the election officials,” Udot said in a telephone interview. “I called police, and they came here for a while. What drives me nuts is that no one cares or takes any action.”

Garry Kasparov was not allowed to walk onto Red Square during the elections. Oleg Vasilyev, 21, and Ivan Afonin, 18, members of the opposition youth group Oborona, were arrested on sight by OMON. A Moscow Times photographer was threatened with arrest and assaulted when he attempted to photograph these actions. And the day after the elections, when citizens peacefully gathered to protest all of the foregoing facts, this is how, as we report below, Medvedev’s government responded:


It’s barbarism, pure and simple. Russia must be cast out from the community of civilized nations. It’s people have made their choice, now we must make ours.