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Manifesto of Free Russia

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.




Russia’s united opposition movement has signed a “Manifesto of Free Russia,” which was first published in the blog of Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS). The manifesto outlines steps to free Russia of Vladimir Putin and his regime, and what to do after he is gone. The manifesto was read at the Russia Day demonstration in Moscow on 12 June 2012. Below, Jenya Belyaeva’s English translation of the manifesto:

Manifesto of Free Russia

The popular protests in Russia on 12 June 2012 will be an important event in the peaceful anti-criminal revolution that began in December 2011.

The current supreme power in Russia is illegitimate. Putin and his team have usurped power through false and fraudulent elections. Being cynical usurpers, they are unable to solve Russia’s social or economic problems: The slow death of the nation continues; there is no security for citizens; the gap between rich and poor is growing, as does the difference in living standards between Moscow and the rest of Russia.

Allwing Putin’s clique to remain in power will prove fatal to the country as a whole. This is what we can see: The degradation of the state, the merger of business and government, the illicit enrichment of persons close to the ruling clan, and the transformation of the country into a raw material appendage of the West and China. The continuation of Putin’s policies threaten civil confrontation, collapse of the state, and chaos.

Under the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the source of power in Russia lies in the people. The people have a legitimate right to peaceful mass protest to exert pressure on the government and to change it.

Our Actions

Defence of political freedoms is, without doubt, linked to the struggle for social and economic rights. Election fraud has helped Putin’s dictatorship implement policies that are aimed against the interests of the majority of the Russian people. Therefore, we seek changes on all levels – political, cultural, social, and economic. We seek fundamental changes in the interest of all citizens of Russia.

All forms of peaceful civil protest should be used: Marches, rallies, strikes, civil disobedience, and peaceful pressure on the authorities. The organisation of peaceful protest and its mass effect will lead to a permanent loss of confidence in the government. Many people now loyal to the regime in different social groups — representatives of law enforcement, Duma deputies, businessmen, experts, and intellectuals — will side with the people.

Responsibility for preparing and organising protest actions will rest on the Coordinating Council, composed of representatives of various political forces and civil society, and elected by a transparent procedure through an open ballot. We call on all responsible citizens to take part in the vote.

The presence of our allies in the government’s elected bodies is important. Although we can not change the government in the country through elections controlled by Putin’s regime, election procedures can play a significant role in dismantling the current flawed system.

Dialogue between the responsible part of the ruling class and the masses should ensure a bloodless transition from the dictatorship of crooks and thieves to democracy, including through the mechanism of the Round Table. The current government and the power elite must realise that responsibility for a different scenario, which will inevitably be catastrophic for the country, will rest on their conscience.

After Putin

It is necessary to reconstruct the destroyed state institutions and mechanisms of democracy, including a real parliament, an executive power controlled by society, and courts, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies that only obey the law. We strive to make the transition to a new state a smooth one and to avoid social upheaval. We believe it is necessary to dismantle the political system within the framework of the existing Constitution.

The following are the main measures to be taken to create the basic, fundamental political, legal, and moral foundations for society and the state:

1. Resignation of Vladimir Putin as a symbol of the current system.

2. Draft of a new law on elections to the Parliament, ensuring the election of the Parliament through fair, transparent, and competitive elections. These projects must take into account the demands made during the mass protests.

3. The adoption of the new election law by the current Parliament. This will be its last and only function.

4. Parliamentary elections under the new law.

5. The newly-elected Parliament shall consider and submit to a referendum a draft new Constitution that substantially limit the powers and period in office of the President (one six-year term or two four-year terms) and broaden the Parliament’s powers in the formation of the government and in carrying out parliamentary investigations.

6. The newly-elected Parliament shall pass a new law on presidential elections and fix the date of the elections. Laws shall be passed to guarantee the functions of local governments and the direct elections of governors.

7. The newly-elected Parliament shall consider and adopt a law on reforming the court system, offices of prosecution, criminal investigation, and the police. The reform shall purge persons who have committed crimes from these organs. The Parliament shall adopt a new law on the referendum, significantly facilitating the procedure for conducting popular referendums.

We, hundreds of thousands of people marching on Russia’s streets, turn to you, the millions who still remain silent. We are one nation, we are the 99 per cent against the 1 percent who have usurped power and property in our great country. We can only change our lives together.

For an honest government! For a free Russia!

Original manifesto in Russian:




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