The Charter of the Russian National Assembly

feature photo

The National Assembly, a gathering of political and social forces dedicated to democracy in Russia, has approved its charter (below). Some 700 delegates met in Moscow on May 17th, representing 66 Russian regions and 85 organizations.

During the meeting, the group chose a board consisting of 50 delegates, representing a majority of the organizations present, and also formed nine committees targeted at various issues facing Russia. The group also selected a presidium of nine individuals, including Garry Kasparov and economist Andrei Illarionov.

Delegates also took an oath, as described in the National Assembly’s charter: “We vow not to spare our energy or even our lives for the restoration of sovereignty and rule of the people in Russia.”

Charter of the National Assembly

We, social and political activists, hereby declare the establishment of the National Assembly of the Russian Federation. The National Assembly is being created for the defense of civil freedoms, political rights, the health and life of Russian citizens, the restoration of legal order, political democracy and representation of the people in Russia. We are united in our discontentment with the course of the current political regime, which is leading the country to a national catastrophe. We are united in our concern for the present and future of Russia. We are aware of the necessity to combine our efforts for the sake of the freedom and prosperity of our homeland.

The organs of state power, formed through the results of the December 2nd 2007 and March 2nd 2008 elections, were not elected by a majority of Russian citizens in free elections, do not represent the interests of this majority, and are therefore illegitimate. These organs of power do not have a right to work in the name of the citizens of Russia and to apply heavy-handed force against the country’s subjects.

The moral duty of Russian citizens concerned with the fate of their homeland – [is to] prepare the circumstances for restoring free political competition, [and the] formation of bodies of popular authority and representation that carry out the will of the citizens of Russia. The National Assembly will gather and interpret proposals for the restoration of political democracy in Russia, will work out a strategy for this renewal and will put [the strategy] forward for discussion by the citizens of Russia.

Our conscience and moral obligation before our homeland summons us to the establishment of the National Assembly.

The major conceptual and political trends existing in Russian society are represented in the National Assembly. We adhere to diverse ideological positions and hold different political views. We do not renounce our convictions from [our] different, and sometimes opposite positions on many matters of life and death in Russia. Nonetheless, having gathered in the National Assembly, we declare that we agree to follow common principles, which allow us to struggle together for the preservation of the unity of the people and the restoration of just rules of peaceful co-existence on the territory of our country:

  1. Independent from our personal beliefs, we do not recognize the right of the state to interfere in the personal lives of its citizens, to limit their freedom of speech, assembly, mobility, choice of where to reside, [or] to determine their way of thinking or language that they speak.
  2. Among us are people of different denominations and atheists, and in our affairs we follow our faith and our own values. However, we do not recognize the right of the state to participate in [either] religious or anti-religious activities, [or] to encourage or impede the affiliation of any faith.
  3. However our political fortunes may end up from here on in, from the moment of the National Assembly’s convocation, we do not consider it possible for ourselves to use violence or the threat of force [or] the restriction of freedom of speech and assembly as an instrument to fight with opponents on matters of politics, economics, culture or religion.
  4. As in the framework of the National Assembly’s activities, as well as in other social and political activities, we pledge to eliminate corruption, bribery, arm-twisting, threats, and coercion from our arsenal. Also unacceptable are references to the ethnicity or the faith of opponents. In a free public discussion, only the convictions and actions of people can be [used as] arguments.
  5. We pledge to never restrict the rights of citizens to determine their fate through free elections on a scale of the country, its regions or individual districts. We are united in our belief that the high officials of all branches and levels of power must be chosen by the free expression of the citizen’s will. If the residents of the whole country or any territory consider it necessary to elect those, who they entrust with the powers of government of the rights of executive office, this right [to election] cannot be limited.
  6. If the free expression of the citizen’s will gives any of us authority over our fellow citizens, we pledge to respect the rights of those who voted against us, including their right to freely express and defend other positions, beliefs and views [that] don’t correspond with our own.

On these foundations, we, the deputies of the National Assembly, are prepared to collaborate with all civil and political forces, including those that have so far decided not to openly step out against the presently governing regime. We uphold the public initiatives and activities of any political forces aimed at attaining from the authorities the observance of rights and freedoms of Russian citizens. It is absolutely unacceptable to us to collaborate, and all the more so collude with those who do not recognize those values carved out by us, or who declare their adherence to [these values] while disproving them with their actions.

We vow not to spare our energy or even our lives for the restoration of sovereignty and rule of the people in Russia.

translated by

See also:
The Political Declaration of the National Assembly of the Russian Federation

Photos from the National Assembly (bottom of page)