In an open letter to the leaders of PARNAS and the Yabloko Party, prominent Russian public figures, human rights activists, and scholars called on the two parties to unite in the forthcoming State Duma elections. The activists published a second appeal to the general public, calling on them to support such cooperation. Both were published together in Novaya Gazeta on Tuesday, February 23rd.
The authors expressed alarm over the impending chaos in Russia due to the current political fragmentation in the country.
The first appeal, which addressed the two opposition parties, stated “you have to go to the polls as a single cohesive unit, supported by the voters, who will be encouraged by your refusal to engage in habitual attacks and fragmentation; your joint willingness to take full responsibility for the salvation of Russia, putting forward a platform for a single anti-crisis program and the politicians who are ready to implement it.”
According to the authors, the only way for the situation in Russia to truly change is for the State Duma to become a sufficiently representative legislative body, complete with independent and democratic opposition.
The second appeal to the Russian voters emphasized that it would be important to rally around a unified political opposition, even if individuals do not feel that the candidates are ideal.
“In September… we will need to choose our own future, the possibility to change the situation in the country. We have no other way…. But politicians are not perfect, especially, in our country. And if we wait for the ideal leader to come around, then we are doomed, together with the country,” the letter stated.
Addressing Russian citizens who believe that voting is futile, the letter states that a united political opposition supported by the people, based on the Constitution and the rule of law, is enough to begin to change the situation.
“Our right to choose is being active. This means that our passivity creates our powerlessness,” the letter concluded.