Declaration Of The Formation Of The All-Russia People’s Front

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Vladimir Putin announced the creation of an “All-Russia People’s Front” at a regional congress of the United Russia party in Volgograd on Friday, May 6, 2011. Since this moment, the front has been a constant source of controversy. News concerning the new organization has largely centered on the scandals concerning its initial membership drive and the organization’s legality.

In his original statement announcing his intent to create the front, Prime Minister Putin laid out its goal: to allow organizations and “non-affiliated United Russia supporters” to assist United Russia in creating its platform and its party (candidate) lists for future elections. This, he said, would allow “everyone who is united in their common desire to strengthen our country, united by the idea of finding optimal solutions to the challenges before us – to benefit from this single platform.” United Russia has since clarified that up to 25% of its party lists will be named by the new organization.

A screen shot from Channel 5’s coverage of Vladimir Putin’s announcement of his intention to create the All-Russia People’s Front. Channel 5 is a station based out of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Russia’s other major political parties immediately accused the prime minister of attempting to create a single-party state. They alleged, with a largely unified voice, that creating a front in which entire organizations would join would be, in affect, institutionalizing a practice that United Russia is often accused of: using state-owned companies, Russia’s massive state agencies, and United Russia managers and bosses to pressure individual employees and organization members to vote for United Russia.

Critics widely predicted that the new front would likely count all members and employees of joining firms and organizations among its supporters – and use this to justify the upcoming election results, which could then be wildly inflated in United Russia’s favor. It was also widely pointed out that this new effort was undertaken just as United Russia’s poll ratings were slipping from over sixty percent to around fifty.

Interestingly, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and A Just Russia Party both voiced this same critical analyses of the new People’s Front. They also announced soon afterwards that they would create their own fronts with similar stated intentions to those announced by Putin.

Some critics have also questioned why Putin would announce such an important change to Russia’s political landscape on a Friday afternoon and then rush to hold its inaugural meeting early Saturday if he really was trying to create an inclusive organization. The draft charter of the document agreed to at that meeting is given in side-by-side translation below.

The membership drive for the new organization has also created controversy. As the Russian Post, a state-owned business, is currently considering joining, many fear that this would give United Russia an unfair advantage not only in the thousands of workers that the enterprise employs, but also in reaching millions of individual Russian voters through their mailboxes.

Russia’s architects union and its composer’s union have both been polarized by efforts to join. Both organizations turned down organizational memberships after scores of their individual members announced that they quit the unions if the unions joined the front.

Lastly, Alexei Navalny, a Russian lawyer best known for campaigning for transparency in Russian companies and the rights of minority stockholders, has filed a formal request with Russia’s Prosecutor General to disband the organization as illegal. Navalny charges that Putin and those that work for him have improperly used government resources to support the new organization. Navalny has also charged that, because the front is not officially registered with The Ministry of Justice, the front cannot be renting its current headquarters legally.

It is likely that if the new organization has an affect on Russian politics, it may well be in the form of behind-the-scenes maneuvering. A poll taken in June 2011 revealed that only some 36% of Russians know about the Front and that 70% of Russians have no opinion to state about the front. A full list of the organizations that have joined the front (numbering in the hundreds, listed only in Russian) can be found on its official website.

While it is still much too early in to tell what the final form of the All-Russia People’s Front will be and what affect it will have on Russian elections and Russian politics, this is a force to follow if only for its high-profile leadership and constant media attention.

Мы, представители общественных объединений: We, the representatives of public associations:
– действуя в интересах России и ее многонационального народа; – acting in the interests of Russia and her multinational people;
– уважая права человека, Конституцию и законы Российской Федерации; – honoring the rights of individuals, the Constitution and the laws of the Russian Federation;
– стремясь к развитию подлинной демократии, реальному участию всех заинтересованных граждан в решении судьбы своей страны; – striving toward the development of a true democracy, and true participation of all interested citizens in deciding the fate of their country.
– поддерживая инициативу нашего лидера В.В.Путина и реализуя курс Президента России, – supporting the initiative of our leader, V. V. Putin and implementing the policies of the President of Russia,
 заявляем об образовании Общероссийского народного фронта как широкой коалиции общественных сил, созданной для выработки и реализации долгосрочной программы развития нашего общества. announce the formation of the All-Russia People’s Front as a broad coalition of common strengths, founded for the  creation and implementation of long-term programs for the development of our society.
– построение сильной, демократической, суверенной России: – to build a strong, democratic, and sovereign Russia:
  • страны с рыночной экономикой, основанной на принципах свободы и поддержки предпринимательства, конкуренции, социального партнерства, ответственности работодателей и надежной защиты прав трудящихся.
  • a country with a market economy, founded on the principles of freedom for and support of business, competition, social partnership, employer accountability, and reliable protection of workers’ rights.
  • общества свободных и успешных людей, построенного на ценностях равенства прав женщин и мужчин, взаимоуважения и гражданской солидарности представителей разных религий, национальностей, поколений и видов профессиональной деятельности.
  • a society of free and prosperous people, built on the values of equal rights for women and men, mutual respect and civil solidarity between the representatives of different religions, nationalities, generations, and professions.
Нашей стране необходимо динамичное развитие на основе обновления, модернизации всех сторон жизни, уверенного движения по достижению целей «Стратегии-2020». Our country needs dynamic development in terms of renewal and modernization of all aspects of life, and steady progress toward achieving the goals of “Strategy 2020.”
Исходя из изложенного, мы договорились совместно принять участие в выборах в Государственную Думу Российской Федерации, в соответствии с законодательством и по общему согласию сформировать общефедеральный список кандидатов от партии «Единая Россия». Proceeding from what has been stated, we agreed to jointly take part in the elections for the State Duma of the Russian Federation, in accordance with the legislation and by general agreement to form an All-Federation list of candidates from the party “United Russia.”
Наши кандидаты пойдут на выборы с общей программой, которую мы подготовим на основе самого широкого обсуждения во всех общественных организациях, вошедших в Общероссийский народный фронт. Our candidates will go into the elections with a common program, which we will prepare on the basis of the broadest discussion across all social organizations participating in the All-Russia People’s Front.
Мы хотим, чтобы создателями этой народной программы, а значит, и курса, которым будет идти страна, стали миллионы наших сограждан. We desire that the founders of this national program, and therefore, the course that this country will take, will be millions of our fellow citizens.
Задача Общероссийского народного фронта – открыть дорогу новым идеям, привлечь гражданское общество (молодежные, женские, ветеранские организации, деловые круги, профессиональные союзы и объединения), всех неравнодушных людей к решению важнейших вопросов развития страны, сделать так, чтобы профессиональный, творческий потенциал граждан, их общественная инициатива были востребованы. The task of the All-Russia People’s Front is to open the road to new ideas, to attract civil society (youth, women, veteran organizations, business circles, professional unions and associations) and all interested people to address the most pivotal questions of our country’s development, and to make it so that the professional and creative potential of citizens, and their social initiative as well, are continuously sought.
Всех, кто любит Россию, с уважением относится к ее истории, готов работать и созидать во имя ее сегодняшнего дня и великого будущего, мы призываем присоединиться к Общероссийскому народному фронту. We call upon all who love Russia, respect her history, and are ready to work and create a great future in her name, to join the All-Russia People’s Front.
Мы верим в нашу победу, в победу России! We believe in our victory, and in the victory of Russia!
1. Все объединения, входящие в «Народный фронт», будут выступать как абсолютно равные партнёры. 1. All associations that have entered into the “People’s Front” (ONF) will act as absolutely equal partners.
2. Участники «Народного фронта» совместно примут участие в выборах в Государственную Думу, по общему согласию сформируют список кандидатов от «Единой России». 2. Participants of the “People’s Front” will jointly take part in elections for the State Duma, and by general agreement form the candidate list for “United Russia.”
3. Наши кандидаты пойдут на выборы с общей программой. Именно с общей программой. Она должна быть подготовлена по итогам самого широкого обсуждения во всех организациях, вошедших в Общероссийский народный фронт. 3. Our candidates will go into the elections with a common program. In particular, this common program must be prepared according to the results of the broadest discussion across all social organizations that have entered into the All-Russia People’s Front.
4. Общероссийский народный фронт открыт для всех, кто разделяет наши цели и задачи и готов участвовать в выработке и реализации долгосрочной программы развития государства и общества. 4. The All-Russia People’s Front is open to all who share our values and goals and are ready to participate in the creation and implementation of long-term programs for the development of our nation and society.

About the Author

Josh Wilson

Josh has been with SRAS since 2003. He holds an M.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in History from Idaho State University, where his masters thesis was written on the political economy of Soviet-era censorship organs affecting the stage. He lived in Moscow from 2003-2022, where he ran Moscow operations for SRAS. At SRAS, Josh still assists in program development and leads our internship programs. He is also the editor-in-chief for the SRAS newsletter, the SRAS Family of Sites, and Vestnik. He has previously served as Communications Director to Bellerage Alinga and has served as a consultant or translator to several businesses and organizations with interests in Russia.

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Danya Spencer

Danya Spencer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages – Russian & Chinese from Lewis and Clark University. She is currently studying in the year-long Home and Abroad Program with SRAS. This program combines study abroad in Russia, and an intensive professional internship focusing on translation, research, and writing.

View all posts by: Danya Spencer