A Fair and Just Russia: Russia’s Social Democrats

Sergei Mironov, the Chairman of the Fair Russia political party in Russia. Photo from www.spb.mironov.ru

The Fair Russia Party was created in 2006 from a merger of three smaller parties. The original parties are still named in the official subtitle of Fair Russia: “Motherland, Pensioners, Life.” They can also still be felt in the new party platform.

The strongest of these parties had once been Rodina, which means “Motherland” in Russian. Rodina, a nationalist party, had taken nine percent of the vote in the 2003 legislative elections, giving them the fourth largest share of seats in the State Duma.

Then, in late 2005, Rodina broadcast a controversial campaign ad in its efforts to win seats in the Moscow City Duma. The ad compelled voters to “clear our city of trash” after showing a group of Caucasian-looking men littering a park with watermelon rinds. A Moscow court subsequently barred Rodina from the Moscow elections on charges of inciting racial hatred. Rodina was barred from other local elections that year as well – although their popularity among voters seemed to continue unscathed.

In 2006, the head of Rodina, Dmitri Rogozin (now Russia’s ambassador to NATO), resigned. The party then merged with the Russian Pensioner’s Party and The Russian Party of Life. Many saw these moves by the party as attempts to placate the authorities and to survive as a political force.

The Russian Pensioner’s Party had taken three percent of the vote in the 2003 elections, although this was not enough to gain representation in the Duma. In 2005, political infighting led to a split in the party’s leadership, causing them to miss five regional elections. Although a special party congress was called in an attempt to heal the rift, the weakened party soon accepted the merger invitation.

The Russian Party of Life was a small, social-democratic party that had only just won its first major local election when it announced it would merge with Rodina. The Party of Life’s leader, Sergei Mironov, was a veteran of St. Petersburg city politics and the Chairman of the Council of Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of States (an extra-governmental organization uniting the CIS). He quickly rose to become chairman of the new “Fair Russia” party and has been its public face ever since.

Fair Russia has absorbed two other socialist parties with nationalist leanings, The United Socialist Party and The People’s Party. The new party platform of Fair Russia, as seen below in a new side-by-side translation produced by SRAS.org, is dominated by what the party terms as “New Socialism” and defines as “implementing universal and national values in real social practice.” Russia’s “Greens” disbanded as a political party in 2008, advising it’s members to join Fair Russia.

Sergei Mironov meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.

While we will continue with the historical development and platform of Fair Russia in part two, for now we will end with a note on the translation itself. The party’s name, Справедливая Россия, can be translated as both “Fair Russia” and “Just Russia.” We opted for the former because although “just,” does refer to “justice,” it more often implies “only” in English. As isolationism is an ideology not found in the platform, and while “fairness” in social, economic, and political relations is a central theme, we feel that “Fair Russia” is a clearer translation of the intent of the Russian name. Accordingly, nearly all instances of the word “справедливость” have been translated as “fairness.”

The party itself uses “A Just Russia” in its official English-language press releases. While the addition of the article does help to clarify the meaning of “just” in this context, it is an indefinite article attached to a proper noun. This tends to create awkward sentences in English. While SRAS generally favors official translations – we have elected to use our own in this case for the sake of readability.

However, we also urge the reader to keep in mind that the Russian word invokes the stronger concept of “justice” in addition to “fairness.” The annotation we have provided covers the rhetoric used in the Russian original text and, in some cases, background information on the claims made in the text.

Continue to Part II>>>

Программа Партии

Программа Партии принята за основу III Съездом Партии 25 апреля 2008 года

Party Platform

This party platform was adopted by The 3rd Party Congress on April 25, 2008.

Программа Партии «СПРАВЕДЛИВАЯ РОССИЯ» обращена к каждому гражданину России.

Это программа кардинального обновления страны, нашей повседневной жизни.

Fair Russia’s platform is addressed to every citizen of Russia.

This program will rejuvenate the country and our daily life.

Мы пришли в политику с целью построить в России справедливое, свободное и солидарное общество, обеспечить социальную безопасность людей, сделать власть по-настоящему ответственной перед народом. We entered politics with the purpose to construct a fair, free, and united society in Russia, to provide for people’s social security, and to make authority properly accountable to the people.
Мы призываем всех, кому дорого будущее России, идти вместе с нами! We urge all who hold Russia’s future dear to move together with us!









Новый социализм — это воплощение общечеловеческих и наших национальных ценностей в реальную  социальную практику. New Socialism – this is implementing universal and national values in real social practice.
Стремление к справедливости и свободе прочно укоренено в национальном самосознании россиян. The aspiration to justice and freedom is strongly implanted in the Russian national consciousness.
Справедливость — это равные для всех права и свободы, уверенность каждого гражданина, каждого человека в том, что у него и у его детей есть будущее. Это объективное соотношение прав и обязанностей, труда и вознаграждения, заслуг людей и их общественного признания. Это неотвратимость наказания для тех, кто совершил преступление. Fairness – fairness is equal rights and freedom for all and the confidence of every citizen, of every human being, that he and his children have a future. Fairness is the proper balance of rights and responsibilities, work and compensation, of people’s merits and their public recognition. It is the assuredness that those who have committed a crime will be punished.
Справедливость несовместима с любой дискриминацией личности. Достоинство человека не может зависеть от его происхождения, места проживания, материального положения или возраста. Fairness is incompatible with any form of discrimination. An individual cannot be advantaged based on origin,[2] place of residence,[3] financial position, or age.
Мы утверждаем: потенциал человека раскрывается не в жестких условиях выживания, а в разумно организованных экономических и социальных отношениях людей, основой которых является справедливость. We maintain that the potential of man is revealed not in the harsh conditions of survival, but in logically organized economic and social relations, the basis of which is fairness.
Справедливое общество — это общество, в котором нет пропасти между богатыми и бедными, где человек социально защищен, где обеспечена его личная неприкосновенность, где поддерживается историческая преемственность поколений. A fair society is a society in which there is no precipice between rich and poor; where the individual is socially secured; where the individual is inviolable; where the historical continuity of generations is maintained.
Построение общества социальной справедливости — это прямая ответственность государства. The state is directly responsible for the construction of a socially fair society.
В Конституции Россия названа социальным государством. На деле же мы остаемся государством вопиющей бедности и огромных социальных рисков. Миллионы людей оказались в зоне социального отчуждения, не живут, а выживают. Жизненные возможности каждого отдельного человека все еще определяются социальным происхождением и местом рождения. In its Constitution, Russia is identified as a social welfare state. In practice, the government leaves us with flagrant poverty and enormous social risks. Millions of people are alientated from society; they do not live, but only survive. The opportunities available in each individual life are still determined by social origin and birthplace.
Пренебрежение социальной справедливостью разрушает фундаментальные нравственные ценности и прежде всего патриотизм. The neglect of social justice destroys our fundamental moral values and, above all, our patriotism.
Мы отвергаем высокомерные суждения о миллионах людей, не сумевших найти себя в сложившихся новых — рыночных — отношениях. Цель справедливой государственной социальной политики — народосбережение, создание условий для самореализации каждого человека и конкретная действенная помощь тем, кто по разным причинам оказался на обочине жизни. We reject haughty judgments about the millions of people who have not managed to establish themselves in the newly-lain market economy. The purpose of fair government social policy is social protection, the creation of conditions for the self-realization of each person and concrete, effective help for those who, for different reasons, find themselves on the sidelines of life.
Вместе с тем мы не считаем, что путь к социальной справедливости вымощен только все возрастающими государственными расходами. Речь не идет об уравниловке. Социальная справедливость — это эффективные расходы, создание условий, чтобы люди получили возможность изменить свою жизнь. At the same time, we do not consider that the path to social justice is paved only with escalating state expenditures. We are not talking about leveling wages. Social justice is expending resources effectively to create conditions in which people have an opportunity to change their lives.
Партия считает, что идея справедливости способна пробудить самосознание и достоинство миллионов, стать реальной политической и экономической силой, объединить людей в выборе будущего нашей Родины. Our party believes that the idea of fairness can awaken the consciousness and dignity of millions of people. It will encourage them to become a real political and economic force and will unite people in deciding the future of our homeland.
Мы будем отстаивать социальную справедливость, бороться за нее в каждом регионе, в каждом городе и селе. We shall defend social justice, struggle for it in each region, in each city and village.
Свобода расширяет возможности самоопределения человека, его право отстаивать свою гражданскую позицию. Это не только цель общественного развития, но и средство построения подлинно гражданского общества. Freedom expands opportunities for individual self-determination, the right to assert one’s own personal political position. This is not only the goal of social development, but also a means of building a truly civil society.
Формальная демократия 1990-х серьезно травмировала общественное сознание. Демократическая риторика прикрыла собой беспрецедентное по своим масштабам разграбление государственной собственности. Поэтому базовые демократические ценности и институты не могли получить должного развития. Вне социальной справедливости свобода и демократия остаются не более чем общим лозунгом.
The faux-democracy of the 1990s severely wounded the public consciousness. Democratic rhetoric masked the unprecedented plunder of national property. Therefore, basic democratic values and institutions could not be duly developed. Without social justice, freedom and democracy remain no more than general catchwords.
Свобода без справедливости — это всегда свобода для немногих. Freedom without fairness is always freedom for the few.
Быть свободным — это быть уверенным в социальной безопасности. To be free is to be confident in social security.
Свобода означает уважение к жизненным планам людей. Если человек на выбранном жизненном пути постоянно сталкивается с непреодолимыми препятствиями, то нельзя говорить о торжестве свободы и демократии. Только там, где реализованы социальные права человека, он получит возможность в полной мере воспользоваться своими политическими правами. Freedom means respecting peoples’ life goals. If a person on a chosen course of life is constantly faced with insurmountable obstacles, it is impossible to speak about the celebration of freedom and democracy. Only when social human rights are implemented will a person have the opportunity to take full advantage of his/her political rights.
Свобода человека неотделима от его личной ответственности за то, что происходит вокруг. Свобода, игнорирующая права других людей, вырождается в произвол. Freedom of the individual is inseparable from the individual’s personal responsibility for what is happening in his/her surroundings. Freedom which ignores the rights of others degenerates into despotism.
Свобода может быть реализована только в правовом государстве, при четко отлаженной системе правосудия, беспристрастно применяемой ко всем гражданам. Только реальные правовые гарантии могут обеспечить надежную защиту жизни человека от насилия и унижений, опасностей и оскорблений, обмана и произвола власти, гарантировать свободу совести, слова и политического выбора. Freedom can be realized only in a lawful state with a transparent, well-developed justice system that is impartially applied to all citizens. Only real legal guarantees can ensure freedom of thought, speech, and political choice and reliably protect human life against violence and humiliation, danger and affronts, from deceit and despotism.
Мы считаем свободу и справедливость мерой развития и обновления страны, критерием благополучия общественной и политической жизни.
We consider fairness and freedom to be a measure of the development and renewal of our country, a criterion of public well-being and political life.
Солидарность — это важнейшая национальная традиция российского общества, необходимое условие его существования и развития. Найти свое место в глобальном мире мы можем только сообща. Несолидарное и безответственное общество не имеет перспектив. Solidarity is the most important national tradition of Russian society, a necessary condition for its existence and development. We can only find our place in the global world together. A disjointed and unaccountable society has no future.
В 1990-е годы новоявленная олигархия в союзе с корыстными чиновниками практически приватизировали государство. Поэтому российское общество остается до сих пор фрагментарным и расколотым. Люди утратили ощущение общей цели, исторической общности и личной сопричастности к судьбе страны.
In the 1990s, the newly-formed oligarchy entered into a union with selfish officials to virtually privatize the state. Because of this, Russian society remains fragmentary and divided to this day. People have lost their sense of common goals, of historical continuity, and of their personal participation in the destiny of their country.[4]
Культурная традиция взаимопомощи и солидарности, этика коллективных действий существуют в России испокон веков. В тяжелые времена своей истории российское общество всегда находило пути к общему согласию. И сегодня опора на наши традиции, если они будут подкреплены эффективной социальной политикой, поможет обрести нам единство и новые перспективы. The cultural traditions of mutual aid and solidarity, and the moral philosophy of collective action have existed in Russia from time immemorial.[5] During history’s difficult times, Russian society has always found a way to consensus. Today, support of our traditions, if fortified by effective social policy, will help us find unity and new prospects.
Главная угроза целостности России — не в происках врагов, а в растущем социальном неравенстве и, как следствие, в отсутствии социальной солидарности. The main threat to Russia’s integrity is not the intrigues of its enemies, but in its growing social inequality and, consequently, the absence of social solidarity.
Солидарность в обществе возникает только на основе его движения к социальной справедливости.
Solidarity arises in a society only on the basis of its movement to social justice.
Мы предлагаем политику экономического и социального обновления, которая не вызывает у человека страха оказаться забытым и никому не нужным в своей стране. Мы считаем, что самые эффективные государственные инвестиции — это вложения в человеческий потенциал. We offer a platform of economic and social renewal which will banish the fear of being forgotten and unwanted in one’s own country. We consider that the most effective state investments are investments in human potential.
Мы призываем всех, кто ощущает себя гражданином России, всех, кому дорого будущее Родины, к политической консолидации. We appeal to everyone who considers themelves citizens of Russia, everyone who holds the future of their homeland dear, to join us in political union.



Мы видим будущее российского общества в ответственности государства за благополучие своих граждан и в ответственности граждан за эффективность своего государства. We see a future of Russian society where the state is responsible for the well-being of citizens and citizens are responsible for the effectiveness of the state.
Человек — не слуга государства, как считают многие чиновники, и не элемент производственных издержек, как считают работодатели. Государство существует для людей с их правами, а не наоборот. Частные интересы не могут быть выше социальной ответственности. The individual is neither the servant of the state as many officials believe, nor a production cost as employers believe. The state exists for people and the rights of people, not the reverse. Individual interests cannot be held above social responsibility.
Мы за рыночное хозяйство, но не рыночное общество. Вторжение рыночных отношений в области, далекие от экономики, разрушает мораль и нравственность, делает борьбу с общественными пороками заведомо безуспешной. We support a market economy, but not a market society. The intrusion of market relations in a field so far removed from economics corrupts morality and ethics, making the fight against social evils ineffective.
Служение государству — это в первую очередь служение людям. Мы видим свою задачу в том, чтобы не дать в процессе государственного строительства затеряться человеку с его проблемами и нуждами.
Service to the state is, first of all, service to the people. We see our task as ensuring that the individual, with his problems and needs, does not get lost in the process of building the state.
Россия должна стать дружественным по отношению к собственному народу государством, которое поддерживает своих граждан в самоопределении, защищает от бедности и произвола без унижающей опеки и мелочного контроля. Russia should build friendly relations with its own people, supporting the self-determination of its citizens[6] and protecting them from poverty and despotism, while not subjecting citizens to humiliating surveillance and petty control.
Мы настаиваем на реальной, закрепленной законом социальной ответственности государственной власти и бизнеса по отношению к человеку.
We insist on real, legally grounded social accountability for public authorities and business in their relations with the individual.



Авторитет любого современного государства определяется тем, как обеспечена социальная безопасность человека и его семьи. The credibility of any modern state is determined by how it provides for the social security of the individual and his/her family.
Современная социальная политика должна признавать за каждым членом общества право на такой уровень жизни (включая пищу, одежду, жилище, медицинский уход и социальное обслуживание), который необходим для поддержания здоровья и благосостояния его самого и его семьи, в том числе и в случаях безработицы, болезни, инвалидности, старости. Modern social policy should recognize the right of each member of society to a standard of living (including food, clothing, housing, medical care, and social services) necessary to maintain the health and well-being of his/her family in cases of unemployment, illness, physical disabilities, and old age.
Сегодня, несмотря на экономический рост и политическую стабильность, очень много людей испытывают неуверенность в завтрашнем дне. Мир труда нестабилен, трудовые отношения ненадежны. Социальная неустроенность является главной причиной того, что человеческие ресурсы нашего общества катастрофически истощаются, причем не только количественно, но и качественно.
Today, despite economic growth and political stability, many people are uncertain of their futures. The labor market is unstable and labor relations are suspect. Social disorder is the main reason that human resources in our society are catastrophically exhausted, qualitatively as well as quantitatively.
Социальная безопасность — это не патернализм, не подачка со стороны государства. Это прежде всего бережное отношение к главному богатству страны — к человеку. Social security is not paternalism; it is not state charity. It is, above all, giving careful consideration to the main wealth of the country – man.
Социальные права человека должны быть воплощены в жизненном стандарте:гарантированная минимальная заработная плата и пенсия не ниже законодательно утвержденного социального стандарта, бесплатная медицина для всех, бесплатное образование для всех, право на получение социального жилья, нормированная плата за коммунальные услуги. Individual social rights must be implemented to living standards:guaranteed minimum wages and pensions not below legislatively approved social standards,[7] free medicine for everyone,[8] free education for everyone, the right to receive public welfare housing,[9] and standardized payment for municipal services.[10]
Реальное обеспечение социальных прав человека и гражданина — это необходимое условие не только политической стабильности общества, но и успешного его развития по пути гуманизма, демократии и прогресса.
Real assurance of the social rights of the individual and citizen is a prerequisite not only for the political stability of a society, but also for its successful development on the way to humanism, democracy, and progress.

Свобода и справедливость, солидарность и ответственность — это наши главные ценности. Мы никогда не поступимся ими! Именно эти ценности положены в основу нашей программы практических действий.

Freedom and justice, solidarity and responsibility are our main values. We shall never renounce them! These values form the foundation of our platform of practical action.

Continue to Part II>>>



[1] The Russian original uses the word “перспектива,” which can mean “perspective,” “outlook,” and “prospect.” It is a more tangible, forward-looking word than the English.

[2] The Russian original uses the word “происхождения,” a general word that refers to “parentage,” “ancestry,” “social origins (class),” and, occasionally, “race.” It is interesting that this word is used rather than more direct words such as “этничность” (ethnicity) or “национальность” (nationality, ethnicity), which are more commonly used to refer specifically to race. Also absent from this list is “пол” (gender).

[3] Place of residence in Russia is considered very important in determining opportunities available to residents. Centralized economic development favored Moscow and St. Petersburg and, to a lesser extent, other major cities (those with a population of more than one million). The countryside and smaller cities are still widely seen as being at the bottom of the hierarchy of economic opportunity. In addition, the Soviet Union’s requirement that all citizens register their place of residence (still required by modern Russia), its acts of “closing” cities (which required anyone leaving or entering to recieve government permission first), and its neglect of transport and communications infrastructure all helped create in the USSR, and now in modern Russia, a very inert population that does not often look outside their current city for economic and personal opportunities. 

[4] This view of the 1990s is the generally held view of the Russian population. Russian polticions of nearly all parties often point the 1990s and its effects on the Russian economy and society as being the source of many – if not most – of modern Russia’s problems. Rarely are the policies of the USSR citied as having been detrimental to the economy or society.

[5] This view is also commonly held in Russia and was officially espoused by the Communists under the USSR. Based on Marxist thinking, people lived in anarchic tribes with communally held property at the dawn of man. Only under capitalism was this tradition of community and mutal aid abandoned under the pressures and repressions of an unnatural economic order. Russia, as it had had little capitalist development, still retained much of that early, natural mindset. Today, many Russians still believe that they are more communally-mind than, for example, Americans.

[6] The Russian “самоопределении” is equivalent to the English “self-determination” and defined as “the free choice of one’s own acts without external compulsion; and especially as the freedom of the people of a given territory to determine their own political status or independence from their current state.” The word was used earlier in this text, though qualified as “самоопределение человека,” which could be understood as “individual self-determination” or possibly “the self-determination of mankind.” It is not likely to be understood as “the self determination of a group of people or region,” such as in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagistan, and other Russian regions that are currently the focus of separatist movements. In this second mention, the full context is “поддерживает своих граждан в самоопределении,”  (support its citizens in self-determination), treats the world “граждан” in a way that would imply either a collective whole or on an individual basis.

[7] Russia’s current “legislatively approved social standards” are very low. Russia’s minimum wage is currently about $150 per month. Russia’s official living wage is, oddly, about a third of that, and less than a tenth of what many international agencies say it should be.

[8] The Russian Constitution guarantees free medical care and free education for everyone. Obstacles to providing this, though, include the fact that many schools and hospitals in Russia, especially those outside major cities, were built under the Soviet Union without running water or sewage. Most public facilities in Russia are not handicap accessible. Cases are still frequent in which physically or mentally handicapped students are denied entry into state schools. Russians often turn to private medical care, which is better equipped, or expect to pay bribes before being admitted to a state clinic.

[9] Among those with the right to receive public welfare housing are veterans. However, many of these veterans have been on waiting lists for more than a decade waiting for enough housing to be built to meet Russia’s legally obligated responsibilities in this sphere.

[10] Payments for municipal services, including for electricity and gas, have been controversial. Most economists and industry experts agree that Russia has subsidized and regulated rates for domestic consumption at unsustainable levels for too long. However, efforts to raise prices to market levels have seen resistance from the Russian public.

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.

Program attended: All Programs

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Hannah Chapman

Hannah Chapman is majoring in Russian Studies, International Business, and Political Science at Stetson University. She spent spring semester, 2009 studying abroad with SRAS in Moscow on the Translate Abroad Program.

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