|8 February 2012
Milhail Kasyanov's speech in EP
EP AFET hearing
February 8, 2012
The Outcome of the Elections to the Russian Duma and the Upcoming Presidential Elections
I would like to start with the high appraisal of the resolution by the Parliament adopted on December 14 which has given a timely, balanced and principled opinion of the so-called elections on December 4. This signal as well as the silence of some European politicians were heard by the Russian people who went out to the streets to protest against anti-democratic trends and electoral fraud by the authorities. As opposed to Arab countries, the protesters in Russia were mainly represented not by the poorest people but by the well-educated and self-made middle class people in the biggest cities who got seek and tired of injustice, corruption and disrespect of the authorities. These people are against revolutions as they have a lot to loose, they often travel abroad, use internet as their main source of information and know what democracy is about. They could not tolerate that their votes were so blatantly stolen as they cannot tolerate being named foreign agents as Putin in fact did after the first street rallies.
Despite Russia hasn`t seen such extent of protest since the beginning of 1990s, the demands of the winter mass rallies in Moscow together with recommendations of the European Parliament were totally ignored by Putin. He in fact revoked initial promises to liberalize the regime of registration of the political parties and insisted on keeping control over selection of governors. Hopes expressed by the European Parliament that Medvedev.s order to investigate all the reports of intimidation and fraud proves transparent and material, were vain. No investigation took place and no single official was sanctioned. Moreover, the authorities explicitly refused to call new Duma elections, so the non-elected Parliament which is illegitimate in the eyes of millions of citizens will continue to operate.
The results of the unfair, dishonest and fraudulent Parliamentary elections became the basis for the presidential campaign which is unfolding now. After choosing his opponents - three of them from the factions of illegitimate Duma and billionaire Prokhorov whose 2 million signatures Putin accepted as real - he has declined to take part in the debates and is going to get back to Kremlin unchallenged, through the first round of voting on March 4. Putin has already stressed that the second round will mean destabilization of the country. But whatever he is doing and saying now, nothing can make these elections free and fair.
During the manifestation last Saturday which mobilized even more people than in December despite it was minus 20 in Moscow, we voiced our political demand to call the new presidential elections with unrestrained access of all the candidates two months later. It can be easily done if President Medvedev now resigns and according to the law new elections must be announced instead of the current ones.
But again, there is little hope that this call will be heard. I am afraid we now see the new strategy of Putin`s administration. Medvedev`s sweet words are already forgotten and instead of negotiation with the civil society and meeting just demands of the middle class Putin is ready to intensify administrative pressure on all of us and consolidates his own clientele, thus aggravating the social divisions and contradictions. Counter-manifestation in Moscow where thousands of people were brought by the authorities using stick and carrot, gives a clear signal what would happen on March 4. Position taken by Russia on Syria is also non-coincidental - thus Putin is preparing himself for external confrontation as well.
In this environment we have to state that we do not consider presidential elections as legitimate and call our supporters to vote against Putin, preferably spoiling their ballot. New manifestations will take place before and just after March 4 and I am sure that people are prepared to continue demanding justice and respect. I am sure that Putin.s regime is doomed for failure as it contradicts the nature of the modern world and the clearly expressed will of the most advanced part of the Russian society. The only question is when and how painful it will fall apart. We will do our best to make it as soon and smooth as we can.
Much will also depend on foreign reaction - whether the elections are taken as normal or again we will see a clear and principled position from the real friends of Russia, not of Putin.
Also today ALDE (The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) - the third largest political group in the European Parliament) calls for the EP to formally freeze contacts with the Russian Duma.
Kristiina Ojuland (Reform Party, Estonia) ALDE Spokesperson on Russia today called for the European Parliament to formally freeze its contacts with the Russian State Duma until free and fair parliamentary elections have been held in Russia. The last Duma elections held on December 4 have been characterized as fraudulent by international watchdogs.
Ojuland stated "The European Parliament adopted a resolution last December clearly demanding that new elections are held in Russia and reiterating that Russia must respect the commitments made to the Council of Europe and OSCE. Since this call appears to have fallen on deaf ears, we must take a bold step forward and increase pressure on Russia to comply. Therefore we must suspend the EU-Russia PCC ( Parliamentary Cooperation Committee) with immediate effect."
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