Activists said that close to 100,000 people gathered in the Russian capital to protest against President Vladimir Putin in defiance of a new law designed to quash the wave of protests that has flooded Russia since parliamentary elections in December.
During the so-called March of Millions rally, protesters demanded that Putin step down and new elections take place, sentiments that were echoed in the Manifesto of Free Russia. The document had been previously drafted and adopted by opposition leaders spanning the political spectrum, and in the Russian capital on Tuesday it was adopted by protesters en masse.
The manifesto was first published on Boris Nemtsov's blog on Saturday. Nemtsov, who was the deputy prime minister of Russia for 17 months under Boris Yeltsin, is one of the founders of the liberal-democratic Union of Right Forces and is a prominent anti-Putin activist. In a display of the very tactics he rails against in the manifesto, police searched Nemtsov and other opposition leaders' apartments on Monday, a day before the rally in Moscow.
The authorities are in a panic, leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov, who was summoned before investigators in an attempt to keep him from Tuesday's march, told reporters.
They are trying to conduct primitive, repressive actions, but I am sure they'll only achieve the opposite effect. These sorts of searches annoy and outrage people, and people in even greater numbers take to the streets.
Authorities also searched the house of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, whose home was trashed by police carrying a search warrant. Navalny is currently the subject of a pending lawsuit brought about by the ruling United Russia party over his use of the term party of crooks and thieves. United Russia is saying that this moniker, often used to describe the party on Navalny's popular blog, has unfairly damaged the reputation of party members, and the party is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
Full text of the Manifesto of Free Russia follows. Emphasis is original.
The main document that we should discuss and ratify at the upcoming June 12 meeting is the Manifesto of a Free Russia. It provides answers to three questions: Why the everlasting reign of Putin is catastrophic for our country, how to rid the country of Putinism, and how to rebuild Russia after Putin.
The main thing, which the authors took into account, is a peaceful transition of power and a return to the country's constitutional and human rights. And also in this document, we suggest that action at all stages needs to be solely in accordance with the Constitution.
The manifesto includes a free Russia for the purpose of organizing the election protest actions of the Coordinating Council on transparent procedures. We believe that building a peaceful protest is not only political but also socio-economic demands, first, to split the ruling elite, including law enforcement, courts, deputies, and, secondly, the power to force the round table, where We will work to meet the requirements of Sakharov and Swamp, amending the Constitution first and foremost in terms of the sharp limits on the power of the President (no more than two presidential terms, the formation of government by Parliament, the holding of parliamentary investigations, the direct election of governors and mayors without any filters).
This document is the author, it is already signed by Sergei Udaltsov, Garry Kasparov, Boris Nemtsov, Ilya Ponomarev, Evgeny Chirikov, Alexei Navalny, Ilya Yashin, Anastasia Udaltsova, Alexander Belov, Andrei Piontkovsky, Alexander Ryklin, Nikolai Belyaev, Denis Bilunov, Alex Sakhnin, Mikhail Shneider, Sergey Davidis, Ivan Tyutrin, Peter Tsar'kov, Leonid Razvozhaev, Daniel Lindell, Peter Verzilov, Alena Popova, Alice Obraztsova. The document is open for signature. We are all different, we represent different political and civil forces in the country, but the goal we have -- a free, democratic Russia -- brings us together.
Remember, we're going to a rally June 12 at 12:00 at the Pushkin Theater, and go marching along the boulevards to Sakharov Prospect. At three o'clock in the afternoon there will be a rally-concert.
The total budget for activities is 2.3 million rubles. Those wishing to support the march and rally can transfer money to the account Romanova - Yandex. Money - ? 410011232431933
FREE RUSSIA MANIFESTO
Protest actions in Russia on 12 July will become important events in the course of the peaceful revolution started in December 2011 against crime.
The current supreme power in Russia is illegal. Putin and his team have usurped it in false, fraudulent elections. Being cynical usurpers, they are not able to solve any social or economic problems of the country: the extinction continues, there is no security of citizens, the gap between rich and poor grows, and as does the difference in living standards between Moscow and Russia. Putin's conservation of power is fatal for the country. Degradation of the state, merging business and government, illicit enrichment close to the ruling group of persons, the transformation of the country's raw materials appendage of the West and China -- a fait accompli. Continuation of Putin's policies threatens civil confrontation, the collapse of the state and chaos.
Under the Constitution, the source of power in Russia is its people. The people have a legitimate right to peaceful mass protest to put pressure on the government and change it.
Protection of political freedom is inextricably linked with the struggle for social and economic rights. After rigging the election, Putin's dictatorship needs to implement policies aimed against the interests of the majority. Therefore, we seek change at all levels -- political, cultural, social, economic -- changes in the interest of all citizens.
All forms of peaceful civil protest should be used: marches, rallies, strikes, civil disobedience campaigns and peaceful pressure on the authorities. Building a peaceful protest, its mass will lead to permanent loss of confidence in the government and the transition to the side of many people now loyal to the regime such as social groups, representatives of law enforcement, deputies, businessmen, experts and intellectuals.
The responsibility for preparing and carrying out protest actions will take on the Coordinating Council, composed of representatives of various political forces and civil society and elected in a transparent procedure by open vote. We call on all responsible citizens to take part in the vote.
The presence of our allies in elected bodies is important. And although the election of Putin's power does not change, elective procedures can play a significant role in the dismantling of the current flawed system.
Dialogue between the ruling class and the masses to is necessary to ensure the bloodless nature of the transition from dictatorship of thieves to democracy (including through the mechanism of the Round Table). The current government and the elite must realize that the responsibility for another, inevitably catastrophic, scenario will fall on them.
Necessary reconstruction of the destroyed state institutions, the mechanisms of democracy, including the present parliament, controlled by the community executive power, subordinate only to the courts, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. We strive to make the transition to a new state power smoothly and to avoid social upheaval. We believe it is necessary to dismantle the political unit in the framework of the Constitution.
The main measures to be taken in Russia to create the basic, fundamental political, legal and moral foundations of society and the state involves:
1. The resignation of Vladimir Putin as a symbol of the system.
2. Development of a new draft law on elections to Parliament, ensuring the election of the parliament in fair, transparent, competitive elections. These projects must take into account the demands made ??on the mass protests.
3. The adoption of this law by the current Parliament. This will be its last and only function.
4. Under the new legislation, new parliamentary elections will be held.
5. The newly elected Parliament shall consider and submit to a referendum draft of the new Russian Constitution, substantially limiting the powers and term limit of the President (one term of six years or two of four years) and expanding Parliament's powers in the formation of the government and the parliamentary investigations.
6. The newly elected Parliament passes new law on elections to the presidency of the Russian Federation and shall fix the date of the elections. Laws enacted to ensure local government and direct elections of governors.
7. The newly elected Parliament shall consider and adopt the law on the transformation of the court, prosecution, investigation and the police, purging them of persons who are criminally stained. Similarly, parliament ratifies a new law on the referendum, thereby significantly easing the process of its implementation.
We have hundreds of thousands, but millions of people who are still silent. We, one nation, we are 99 percent to 1 percent, usurped of our power and property. We can only change our lives together.
For an honest government! For a free Russia!