2nd Other Russia Conference Underway

Other Russia Press Conference July 7, 2007This weekend sees the 2nd Other Russia Conference in Moscow. The principal orders of business are to review the successes of the past year and to discuss the selection process to determine a united opposition candidate for the March 2008 presidential elections. The other Russia movement was launched one year ago and in that time we have carved out a national and international space for dissent against the Putin regime. This fall will bring an entirely new challenge, moving from opposition and criticism to include candidacy, campaigning, and policy.

Today on the first day of the conference it was announced that Other Russia will participate in this year’s parliamentary elections (December 2). Previously we had planned to ignore these elections to protest the inevitable bias and corruption they represent. After discussions, it was decided that it was important to participate in order to make a statement for democracy in Russia and to show the Putin regime that they are not unopposed. Other Russia will develop a list of 450 people to register with the parliamentary election committee.

At the press conference, United Civil Front leader Garry Kasparov said that by this autumn, “the situation in Russia will be greatly aggravated because the regime cannot offer an adequate solution for 2008. There can be no smooth transition of power in an authoritarian system. They have no idea what will happen when Putin leaves.” Kasparov also cited the widening gap between rich and poor in Russia as another potential catalyst for unrest in the country before the end of the year.

Kasparov was asked about the plans for more Dissenters’ Marches in the fall, and he responded positively. “We will continue our outdoor rallies and marches to draw support to our campaigns for the parliamentary and presidential elections.”

NB: The Conference is being held at the Lesnaya Holiday Inn, and we wish to extend our thanks and respects to the proprietors of the hotel for not giving in to the pressure that led the Marriott-owned Moscow Renaissance Hotel to decline to host our conference.