A new wave of political repression, targeted against a wide range of Russian citizens, the entire protesting civil society in Russia, has emerged.

The public protest is caused by people’s fatigue and unacceptability for them of the twenty years of irreplaceable authoritarian rule by Vladimir Putin and the prospects of the endless repetition of this situation. This is directly related to the events of the past year – the unlawful rewriting of the Constitution in order to establish a regime of unlimited personal power.

The protest of citizens is conditioned by deep reasons: lawlessness, corruption, long-term decline in living standards, electoral fraud, state lies… Outrage at politically motivated arrests of human rights defenders and activists, poisoning and lawlessness that has been going on around Alexei Navalny for many years ─ all this fuelled today’s surge in protest activity.

We are consistent and principled opponents of both the irremovability of Vladimir Putin and the entire system of the authoritarian power based on violence, lies, corrupt ties, disregard for the interests of people, and aggression towards neighbouring countries. This system means not only Putin and his circle, it comprises all the state institutions without exception, including the formally opposition parties – the so-called parliamentary parties.

Therefore, we consider the right of Russian citizens to peaceful protest be natural and inalienable.

At the same time, we insist that public protest has prospects for positive changes in the country only if it is fundamentally peaceful, politically conscious and purposeful.

The basis of such a protest is people who openly oppose the “Putin system”, and equally reject populism, nationalism, xenophobia, leaderism, Bolshevik incitement of social hatred, substitution of  democratic procedures and institutions by the power of the crowd, political self-interest and manipulation.

We consider it our duty to represent the political interests of these people, who are the successful future of Russia.

We will not recede from our initial demand for a full and convincing investigation into the attempt on the life of Russian citizen Alexei Navalny. This is of great importance to everyone. We believe that the refusal [of the authorities] to investigate [this case] allows us to raise the question of the existence of so-called death squads in Russia, which carry out extrajudicial killings of political opponents of the government. There are many examples of this – the murders of [opposition politician and Putin ciritic] Boris Nemtsov, [journalist and human rights defender] Anna Politkovskaya, [human rights defender] Natalia Estemirova, [journalist] Larisa Yudina, [human rights defender] Farid Babayev, the fatal poisoning of [journalist and MP] Yuri Shchekochikhin and [journalist] Timur Kuashev (four of the seven people named are members of the Yabloko party)… The list can be augmented. All these people – politicians, human rights defenders and political journalists – harshly criticised Putin and the system of power created in the country, and openly fought corruption. In addition, a refusal to investigate Navalny’s poisoning may be the indication of production and criminal use of banned chemical weapons in the country.

We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, of whom there are already several hundred in Russia, and their number is growing.

The repressive regime has moved from attempts to block information on public protests to preventive arrests and aggressive defamation of both participants and organisers; hysteria of the search for internal enemies and “foreign agents” has been whipped up in the country.

We warn of the grave danger of provocations during civil protest actions. It is a matter of personal choice whether to participate in specific unpermitted protest actions or not, and everyone is well aware of the possible consequences.

But regardless of whether you are participating or not, in no case succumb to provocations from different sides, that are very likely to take place. One of the signs of provocations are calls for violence, replacement of mass civil political solidarity with populism in the spirit of “conspiracy theories” or revolutions. This is a path into the abyss and provision of enormous opportunities for repression for the cunning and cynical government. In today’s situation, regardless of who the authors of the provocations are and their intentions, they will primarily be used by the authorities for their own purposes. Remember: “All revolutions are conceived by idealists, implemented by fanatics, and its fruits are stolen by scoundrels”.

Our primary goals are simple and clear:

– a government regularly replaced every four years in transparent and publicly controlled elections;

– independence of courts, abolition of unjust sentences;

– Russia is a federation: election of heads of regions, mayors of cities, ensuring of financial rights of regions, cities and municipalities;

– freedom of speech, elimination of censorship in the media, creation of independent public television in each constituent entity of the federation under the control of specially elected public councils;

– economic reform of the state-monopoly capitalism, demonopolisation and diversification of the economy, protection of property rights, rights of entrepreneurs and fair competition;

– real eradication of corruption, adoption of a federal law on the recognition of civil anti-corruption organisations as socially useful, requiring special protection and support from government agencies, providing them with access to official documents of executive authorities;

-a guaranteed basic income for the citizens of the country, which will be funded by the state through the export of natural resources.

All these goals and objectives have been thoroughly developed and calculated by us, they are all real and feasible. We have highly qualified experts, honest and incorruptible professionals for their implementation.

There is only one condition: citizens must want this and fight for this political programme by all peaceful means, including elections, which will be held this year.


It makes no sense to expect that the current government will achieve these goals, or at least move towards them. The government must changed. But changing the government and the system of its organisation in Russia effectively, seriously and for a long time can only be done by forcing the current elite to engage in dialogue with the society which is putting forward such or a similar programme of change, has political leaders and millions of supporters of the change.

Russia will be free, democratic and federal, or there will be no Russia.

Nikolai Rybakov,
Yabloko Chairman 

Grigory Yavlinsky,
Chairman of the Federal Political Committee