Ludmila Alekseeva, Lev Ponomarev: Russia has a chance for a peaceful transition to democracy

posted 5 Dec 2011, 14:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Dec 2011, 15:22 ]
Your success in the elections has created a unique chance for our country to avoid violence, bloodshed, and yet another tragic, revolutionary ‘time of troubles’, and to begin the transition to democracy in conditions of civil peace.  

Public Appeal to Three Political Parties

5 December 2011

We believe no one any longer doubts that, if we leave out the ballot-box stuffing and other fraud, then taken together KPRF, A Just Russia and LDPR have achieved a majority of votes in the elections.

The representatives of KPRF, A Just Russia, LDPR, Yabloko, and other opposition parties, have regularly spoken of the need to put an end to the bureaucratic-police regime, to put an end to this nomenklatura of the ruling party, to end the usurpation of government.

Now you have a chance to achieve this, all the more so since your success is a result not only of your work, but of the sum of the efforts of a huge number of people. These are people who have spoken out against the ruling party, publicized lawlessness and arbitrariness, and hindered the perpetration of electoral fraud on a yet larger scale.

At the same time, your success in the elections has created a unique chance for our country to avoid violence, bloodshed, and yet another tragic, revolutionary ‘time of troubles’, and to begin the transition to democracy in conditions of civil peace.

We call on KPRF, A Just Russia and LDPR to act as a true opposition should and to take a series of steps that are natural for an opposition.

We call on you to demand a recount of votes where instances of fraud have been established.

You should also begin the formation of a united coalition ‘shadow cabinet’, with the participation of other political forces and the holding of mass demonstrations in support.

As a next step we call on you to declare a lack of confidence in the Putin government and to create a government of ‘national trust’.

After the creation of a ruling coalition, we call on you to immediately amend legislation in line with the current consensus on democratic demands, including: to return direct elections of governors and mayors; to significantly lower the threshold for a party to win representation in parliament; to return first-past-the post, constituency-based elections; to restore the right to create electoral blocs; to register all political parties; and also to abolish political censorship, free political prisoners, and return their full authority to jury trials.

We call on you to create parliamentary commissions to investigate violations at the polls, as well as corruption and theft.

It is necessary to put forward a single candidate at the forthcoming presidential elections against the candidacy of Putin.

As a final step we call on you to show political high-mindedness and, after the changes to the laws have been made, to conduct fair and transparent early parliamentary elections, and also elections of heads of regions and mayors of towns and cities.

We call on you to use the opportunity of your victory to achieve a bloodless exit from the current political dead-end, to put an end to despotism, and to avoid the scenario that we have seen played out in the countries of the Arab world.

Ludmila Alekseeva, chair, Moscow Helsinki Group
Lev Ponomarev, executive director, Movement For Human Rights
Valery Borshchev, member, Moscow Helsinki Group
Vasily Melnichenko, chair, Urals People’s Assembly Coalition
Aleksei Devotchenko, actor
Nina Katerli, writer, member Russian PEN Centre
Andrei Piontkovsky, writer
Mikhail Shneider, responsible secretary, Solidarnost
Evgeny Ikhlov, journalist
Dmitry Krainov, civic activist, Ulyanovsk
Yury Samodurov, observed the elections at a Moscow polling station, from which he was removed by the chair of the local electoral commission for criticizing crude violations in vote counting and in the registration of voters from other districts
Dmitry Dmitriev, coordinator, Council of Human Rights Defenders, Irkutsk
Petr Mateikin, Movement For Human Rights, Khakassiya

Signatures can be added via this link.

Ludmila Alekseeva lives in Moscow and is chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group. She is a member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights.
Lev Ponomarev lives in Moscow and is director of the Movement For Human Rights.