Statement by Human Rights Defenders: ‘Throw the old junk out of the State Duma!’

14 September 2021

Pictured left: Boris Altshuler, head of the “The Right of the Child” Regional Public Organization for the Protection of Children’s Rights, a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group and one of the authors of the appeal

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group

Dear compatriots!

The elections for the VIII convocation of the State Duma on 17-19 September of this year are a unique historical chance for the lawfully and peacefully-expressed will of the Russian people to fundamentally renew the membership of the State Duma, and thereby create real opportunities for a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for each of our country’s citizens.

There exists the need, even poverty, of millions; malnutrition of children due to sky-high prices for essential products; severe housing and health problems; economic depression in most of Russia’s territories; the murder of local government officials; the arbitrariness of law enforcement officers; corruption; monopolism and the squandering of trillions of budget roubles (read the reports by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Agency and the Accounting Chamber of the Russian Federation).

All these problems are on the conscience of the deputies of the current and previous State Duma. There are well-known legislative packages – initiatives – that would make it possible to improve the quality of life of millions of Russians in the shortest possible time. They – the deputies – could have long ago shown concern for other human beings and adopted these laws, thus drastically alleviating problems in the lives of their fellow citizens. But they didn’t show concern, didn’t pass anything, didn’t make things easier – they are not the right people for this.

32 years ago, in 1989, for the first time in the history of our country, competitive elections were held. Here is what Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov – whose 100th birthday was commemorated this year – wrote about this:

‘And here something came to light that even we, who in the previous era had fought a lonely and outwardly hopeless struggle with very limited goals, couldn’t bring themselves to imagine, didn’t dare to hope. Repeatedly deceived, living in conditions of general hypocrisy and a destructive corruption, lawlessness, cronyism and misery, it turned out that the people were alive. The light of possible changes had only begun to dawn, but hope appeared in the souls of people, a will for political activity emerged.’

Sakharov never called for revolutions – he always insisted only on a peaceful evolutionary path of development.

We believe in the vitality and common sense of the Russian people. We don’t say ‘NO!’ We say ‘YES!’

We urge the voters of Russia not to ignore the upcoming elections, but to come to the polling stations ‘with a broom and a rag’ in order to restore cleanliness and order to the main legislative body of our country, to throw out the old junk.

Release the deputies who have served their term in the State Duma!

Yes to a fundamental renewal of the State Duma deputy body!

Yes to a dramatic improvement in the quality of life of Russians!

Boris Altshuler, Head of the ‘Right of the Child’ Regional Public Organisation, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG).

Valery Borshchev, Co-chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG).

Lev Ponomarev, The civic human rights project For Human Rights [designated as a ‘media’ foreign agent by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation].

Mikhail Shneider, Deputy Chairof the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS).

Translated by Tyler Langendorfer

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