Right Cause Searches for Right Path: Part II

Continued from Part I.

Right Cause has positioned itself as a pro-business party in favor of free market reforms, privatization, and protecting the interests of the middle class. However, its political successes have been relatively few and infighting has been commonplace.

Leonid Gozman (forefront, right) at “March Nesoglasnikh,” an annual opposition-wide event. Photo from Limonov2012.com

The party was originally headed by three co-chairmen, each from one of the parties that merged to form it. The remaining two continue to share power equally.

Leonid Gozman is one current co-chair. He had become Chairman of SPS in September of 2008, shortly before its disbanding, but he had occupied other positions within the party since joining in August of 1999. Gozman has long been connected with Anatoly Chubais, serving under him in electricity giant “Unified Energy Systems” from 1999 until the company disbanded in 2007. More recently, Gozman was appointed by Chubais as an advisor in ROSNANO.

Georgy Bovt, another co-chair of Right Cause, had been a senior member of the Democratic Party. He had been a journalist for Kommersant, editor-in-chief for Izvestia, and remains active in journalism, contributing to Gazeta.ru, “City FM” radio, the Moscow Times, Russia Profile, and is editor-in-chief of Russkiymir.ru. He is also involved in a political NGO known as “The Council for Foreign and Defense Policy.”

While Gozman and Bovt remain, Boris Titov, who served as a third co-chair until February of 2010, has left the party to found a new movement known as “ForModernization.ru” (Замодернизацию.RU). The new movement is geared specifically to support current President Dmitri Medvedev’s modernization plans for Russia.

Boris Titov (center) presenting the Pro Business Award at the Breakthrough Youth Forum in 2009. The event was attended by President Medvedev. Photo from Life.ru

Titov had previously served as a senior member of the Civil Force party in addition to holding a number of positions in government advisory councils, mainly on business and economic matters.  In 2004, he became Chairman of Business Russia (Деловая Россия), a lobbying group for Russian businesses, and continues to hold that post today. 

While Right Cause continues to list many prominent businessmen and journalists among its members and leaders, Titov’s departure is indicative of wider problems facing the party.

In announcing his departure, Titov complained that “we attempted to found Right Cause from nothing – we worked our fingers to the bone… [but] the party platform is still being written. Those folks from SPS have no concept of what an idea is.”

While the decision to found Right Cause was completed easily, each of the constituent parties continues to maintain separate identities and even websites. The Democratic Party has posted an open letter on its website decrying that the current party platform was “written hastily and does not correspond to modern Russian realities.” The letter also complains of confusion as to who is leading the party – indicating that its system of equal co-chairs has not been successful – while accusing an unnamed “leadership” of failing to bring victory at the polls.

Part I Part II Part III Part IV
Мы исходим из того, что политическая система «Капитализма для всех» должна быть построена на принципах демократии, информационной открытости, сменяемости руководителей всех органов власти на основе конкуренции различных политических сил и идей. We have established that our political system, “Capitalism for All,” should be constructed upon the principles of democracy, freedom of information, and alteration of power brought about by competition among various political powers and ideas.
Мы выступаем за: We stand for:
– Безусловное сохранение Конституции 1993 года. – The unconditional preservation of the 1993 Constitution.
– Широкое применение принципов выборности: прямые выборы глав (мэров) городов и других муниципальных образований, прямые выборы представителей субъектов Федерации в Совете Федерации, постепенное восстановление прямых выборов глав регионов, начиная с Москвы и Санкт-петербурга. – The broad application of  elective principle: direct elections for the heads (mayors) of cities and other municipal establishments, direct elections for representatives of the subjects of the Russian Federation to the Federation Council, and the gradual restoration of direct elections for regional governors, starting with Moscow and St. Petersburg.[1]
– Мы за снижение до 5 процентов барьерадля выборов в Федеральное законодательное собрание по партийным спискам. – We support lowering the 5 percent barrierrequired of each party for election to the Federal legislative assembly.[2]
– Мы против увеличения сроков пребывания у власти Президента и Государственной Думы. В условиях нестабильной демократии долгое пребывание у власти создает угрозу ее узурпации. – We oppose increasing terms for the President and for those in the State Duma. In an unstable democracy, serving long terms risks the usurpation of office.[3]
– Мы за последовательное внедрение принципов ротации исполнительной власти: ни одно выборное должностное лицо не может оставаться на своем посту более двух сроков подряд. -We support the logical introduction of rotation of power in the executive branch: no one elected official can stay in their post for more than two consecutive terms.[4]
– Мы за внедрение принципов прямой демократии – прежде всего, в форме референдумов, начиная с местного уровня и кончая федеральным, без ограничения по тематике. -We are for the introduction of direct democracy – most importantly, in the form of referendums, starting at the local level and ending at the federal, without limits on subject matter.
– Мы за реальное «разделение властей». Мы считаем необходимым повысить контролирующую роль законодательной власти над исполнительной, создать и активно использовать институт независимого парламентского расследования. -We are for true “separation of powers.” We believe that the legislative branch must have more control over the executive branch. Procedures for independent parliamentary investigations should be established and actively used.
– Мы выступаем за полную гласность и открытость исполнительной власти, в том числе при формировании и расходовании бюджетов всех уровней и резервов страны, за максимальную открытость, в том числе оборонных, внешнеполитических бюджетов и бюджетов силовых структур. – We campaign for complete openness andtransparency of the executive office, including in forming budgets and determining budget expenditures. This includes all budgets at all levels and for all programs nationwide, including openness in the budgets for defense, foreign policy, and law-enforcement agencies.
– Мы выступаем за внедрение контроля для представителей всех ветвей и уровней власти за соблюдением принципов политической этики, недопущением «конфликтов интересов», незаконного (в корыстных целях) использования инсайдерской информации. – We campaign for the introduction of political ethics oversight for all government representatives in all branches and at all levels of government, for banning “conflicts of interest” or illegal (with selfish intent) use of insider information.
– Мы выступаем за уведомительный порядок регистрации общественных организаций. – We campaign for allowing social organizations to register via notification.[5]
– Мы за ревизию ныне действующего выборного законодательства и законов ополитических партиях с тем, чтобы ликвидировать административный контроль за выборами и за деятельностью избиркомов. – We support revising the currently enacted election legislation and laws on political parties to abolish administrative oversight over elections and over the work of election committees.
– Мы за гласность и прозрачность в работе государственных и муниципальных органов, мы за закон о свободе информации, гарантирующий гражданам беспрепятственный доступ к любой информации, касающейся их лично, а также представляющий какой-либо интерес для общественности, если эта информация не связана с оперативно-следственными действиями, с военной и коммерческой тайной. – We support openness and transparency in the work of the state and municipal organs; we support a law on freedom of informationwhich guarantees citizens unimpeded access to any information that concerns them personally or any information representing the public interest, as long as this information does not concern an open investigation or military or commercial secrets.
 «Капитализм для всех»: экономическая модель с опорой на внутренний рынок. “Capitalism For All:” an economic model supporting the domestic market
Мы считаем, что только современная, диверсифицированная, по-настоящему рыночная система хозяйства может быть единственным и по-настоящему эффективным путем развития нашей страны, отвечает не только потребностям предпринимателей, но, в первую очередь, интересам всех социальных групп населения России. We believe that a modern, diversified, authentic market economy can be the only truly effective path of development for our country that meets the requirements not only of businesses, but, most importantly, the interests of all social groups in the Russian population.
Только частная инициатива, собственное дело, конкурентный рынок могут являться движущими силами экономического развития, роста благосостояния наших граждан, могут обеспечить развитие демократии и дать гарантии стабильности. Only personal initiative, private business, and a competitive market can drive economic development, improve citizens’ well-being, provide for the development of democracy, and guarantee stability.
На сегодняшний день мы еще далеки от создания развитого конкурентного свободного рынка в России. Россия продолжает развиваться на основе отсталой «сырьевой модели», как страна сверхкрупного, сырьевого, и, в основном, чиновничьего государственного капитализма. Успехам, которых наша экономика достигла за последние годы, мы во многом обязаны высокой конъюнктуре мировых цен на сырьевые товары. Основными источниками налогов в российской экономике продолжают оставаться два десятка крупных сырьевых компаний. Today, we are still far from the creation of a developed, competitive, free market in Russia. Russia is continuing to develop based on a backward “raw-materials model,” a country with an oversized, resource-based, and, on the whole, bureaucratic, government-led brand of capitalism. We owe the successes our economy has achieved these past few years largely to the global market price for raw materials. Twenty percent of the major raw materials companies continue to remain the main sources of tax revenue for the Russian economy.
Слабое развитие перерабатывающего сектора, обеспечение внутреннего спроса на высокотехнологические и потребительские товары в основном за счет импорта делают страну уязвимой перед угрозой мировых экономических кризисов создают недопустимые риски экономической и социальной стабильности, научно-технического отставания, проигрыша в глобальной мировой конкуренции. Our poorly developed manufacturing sector, and reliance on imports to satisfy domestic demand for high-tech and consumer goods makes the country vulnerable to the threat of global economic crises and creates intolerable risks to our economic and social stability, a lag in our scientific and technological development, and hampers our global competitiveness.
Наша задача – научиться зарабатывать по-новому, перейти к модели развития экономики, основанной на частной предпринимательской инициативе миллионов людей, конкуренции малых, средних и крупных компаний. Our goal – to learn to work differently, to cross over to an economic development model based on the private entrepreneurial initiative of millions of people and the competition of small, mid-sized, and large companies.
 Экономическая модель «Капитализма для всех» должна опираться на развитие внутреннего спроса как главного фактора диверсификации и модернизации экономики, роста отечественного производства. Главным стимулом роста нашей экономики должны стать не низкая стоимость труда, как при «догоняющей модели», используемой в ряде быстро растущих стран Азии, а высокие доходы граждан, по принципу: The economic model “Capitalism for All” should focus on developing domestic demand as the main prerequisite for economic diversification, modernization, and the growth of domestic production. The main stimulus of developing our economy should not be the low cost of labor, such as in the “catching-up model” used in a number of rapidly growing Asian countries, but rather the high income of our citizens, by the reasoning that:
Состоятельные люди – высокий потребительский и промышленный спрос – развитое отечественное производство – сильная экономика – состоятельные люди A well-off people create high consumer and industrial demand, which leads to developed domestic production, which in turn leads to a strong economy and thus a well-off people
Основными средствами достижения этой цели мы считаем: We consider the basic means of achieving this goal to be:
– Создание благоприятных экономических условий для развития бизнеса: снижение и упрощение налогов, защита национального бизнеса от недобросовестной конкуренции. – The creation of favorable economic conditions for the development of business: the reduction and simplification of taxes, and protecting domestic business from unfair competition.
Демонополизацию, стимулирование рыночной конкуренции, повышение правовой, судебной и политической защищенности отечественных производителей. Breaking up monopolies, stimulating market competition, increasing legal, judicial, and political protection for domestic producers.
Эффективную денежно-кредитная политику, превращение рубля в региональную резервную валюту, создание мощного независимого банковского сектора, развитие системы Институтов Развития, оказывающих содействие российскому бизнесу в обеспечении доступным инвестиционным капиталом. – An effective monetary policy, converting the ruble into a regional reserve currency, creating a powerful, independent banking sector, improving our Institutes of Development,[6] and assisting Russian businesses in securing affordable investment capital.
– Определение места России в мировом разделении труда, реализацию политики, направленной на капитализацию сравнительных конкурентных преимуществ российской экономики, на модернизацию и диверсификацию российской экономики, сбалансированное развитие регионов. Мы не можем говорить о развитии постиндустриальной экономики, не создав мощной индустриальной базы страны. Define Russia’s place in the global division of labor by implementing policies focused on capitalizing on the competitive advantages of the Russian economy, on modernizing and diversifying the Russian economy, and on the well-balanced development of the regions. We cannot speak of the development of a post-industrial economy if we have not created a powerful industrial base first.
Масштабные частно-государственные инвестиции в развитие инфраструктуры, в том числе преимущественное развитие инфраструктурных транспортных проектов, направленных на обеспечение транспортного единства страны, мобильности населения, доступности сырьевых ресурсов, установление диверсифицированных «горизонтальных» прямых связей между регионами в интересах более равномерного их развития. Large-scale public-private partnerships for infrastructure development, including primarily transportation infrastructure. These should focus on creating a unified transportation system in Russia, a mobile population, on making resources accessible, and on creating diversified, “horizontal,” direct routes between regions in the interest of their more uniform development.[7]
Реформу естественных монополий – мы должны использовать естественные ресурсы страны, как конкурентные преимущества для развития отечественного производства. Reform of natural monopolies – we should utilize the country’s natural resources as competitive advantages for the development of domestic production.[8]
Модернизацию системы управления экономикой, переход от принципов «контроля» к принципам «содействия» бизнесу, повышение эффективности борьбы с коррупцией и административным давлением. Предсказуемость, четкость и прозрачность государственного регулирования в экономической сфере, гарантии равных условий для ведения бизнеса для всех хозяйственных субъектов вне зависимости от формы собственности. Постепенный уход государства из тех сфер экономики, где его участие не является обязательным или необходимым Modernize our system of economic management, by transitioning from “control” to “cooperation” with businesses, increase the effectiveness of the fight against corruption and administrative pressure; government economic regulations must be clear, transparent, and well-communicated; all market participants, regardless of their form of ownership, should be guaranteed a level playing field for conducting business;[9] the government should gradually withdraw from those economic spheres where its participation is not obligatory or necessary.
– Проведение реальной, а не косметической налоговой амнистии и легитимизации итогов приватизации – Real, and not superficial, tax amnesty should be declared and all privatization legitimized.[10]
 Мы уверены, что реализация новой экономической политики «Капитализма для всех» позволит на базе экономического роста повысить доходы россиян, достичь по этому показателю среднеевропейского уровня. Качество жизни должно стать главным критерием эффективности экономической политики. We are certain that implementing the new economic policy “Capitalism For All” will make possible an increase in Russians’ incomes to a level analogous to that of Central Europe.[11] Quality of life should be the benchmark for judging this economic policy’s effectiveness.
«Капитализм для всех»: эффективная рыночная социальная система. “Capitalism For All:” an effective, market-based social system.
Там, где развит рынок, конкуренция, национальный бизнес, демократические институты, жизнь людей наиболее стабильна и обеспеченна. В мире ещё пока не создано более эффективной социальной системы, чем рыночная, базирующаяся на балансе принципов равных возможностей работать и зарабатывать для тех, кто способен это делать, с одной стороны, и гарантиях надежного социального обеспечения для тех, кто в силу слабости, возраста или болезней это делать не может. People’s lives are the most stable and secure where the market, competition, domestic business, and democratic institutions develop. There has not yet been a social system created in the world that is more effective than the free market, based on a balance of two principles: first, that of equal employment opportunities for those who can work and, second, reliable social guarantees for those who, due to infirmity, age, or illness, are not able to work.
Главными элементами такой системы являются: The defining elements of such a system are:
– высокооплачиваемые рабочие места в частном секторе; – high-paying jobs in the private sector;
– разумные налоги, сохраняющие стимулы развития и честно выплачиваемые бизнесом; – reasonable taxes, which do not disincentivize business development and which are paid honestly by businesses;
– сочетание частных и государственных систем пенсионного обеспечения, социального страхования, образования и медицинского обслуживания, которые взаимодействуют в конкурентной среде, чем обеспечивается их развитие и качество услуг; – a combination of private and government systems for retirement funds, social security, education, and health services which compete with one another, ensuring their development and quality of service;
– развитая система благотворительности, стимулируемая государством (в том числе путем освобождения от налогов) и по достоинству оцениваемая обществом; – the development of philanthropy, as stimulated by the state (such as through tax-exemptions) and whose merit is valued by society;
– эффективная система защиты трудовых прав и социального страхования, развитые профсоюзы. – an effective system for defending workers’ rights and social insurance and the development of unions.
В России неразвитость рынка – одно из главных препятствий в развитии социальной сферы. Отечественная социальная система базируется не на миллионах рабочих мест в частном секторе, а на увеличении числа госслужащих, налогах сырьевых компаний и функционировании масштабных, но неэффективных государственных социальных институтов перераспределения. Государству приходится брать на себя социальную нагрузку, которую оно в полной мере эффективно не в состоянии нести. In Russia, the underdeveloped market is one of the main impediments to the development of the social sphere. Our social system is based not on millions of jobs in the private sector, but on large numbers of bureaucrats, taxes of raw materials companies, and the functioning of large-scale but inefficient government social institutions of redistribution. The government is forced to take this social workload upon itself, which it will never fully be able to carry.[12]
Именно поэтому качество социальных услуг и уровень жизни российских граждан по-прежнему значительно отстают от качества и уровня жизни в развитых странах, а среди населения процветает социальное иждивенчество. This is precisely why the quality of social services and the standard of living for Russians significantly lags behind the quality and standard of living found in developed countries, while social dependency flourishes among the population.
Почву для социальной нестабильности усиливает и несправедливая диверсификация доходов, беспрецедентный разрыв между богатыми и бедными, который произошёл по той же причине – неразвитости рынка, конкуренции, высокой концентрации производства и капитала. The ground for social instability is fertilized by an unfair distribution of income and an unprecedented gap between the rich and the poor, both of which occurred for the same reason: an undeveloped market, undeveloped competition, and production and capital concentrated in a few hands.
Мы считаем, что социальная система «Капитализма для всех» должна базироваться на развитии рынка, вовлечении российских граждан в активную экономическую деятельность, создании новых рабочих мест в частном секторе. Это позволит решить проблему занятости и создаст социально активным слоям населения возможность самореализации, будет способствовать дальнейшему росту уровня и качества жизни, а также более равномерному развитию российских регионов. Только создание такой качественно новой экономической и институциональной основы гарантирует развитие на конкурентной основе пенсионной системы, систем социального страхования, образования и здравоохранения, обеспечения жильём, развитие независимых профсоюзов, что в совокупности создаст надёжную основу для достойной жизни, в том числе экономически неактивного населения, позволит окончательно победить бедность в России. We believe that the social system “capitalism for all” should be based on market development, involving Russian citizens in active economic work, and the creation of new jobs in the private sector. This will allow us to solve the problem of unemployment and create an opportunity for the inclusion of community-minded portions of the population. This will further future growth in our quality of life, as well as encourage a more uniform development of Russia’s regions. Only the creation of such a qualitatively new economic and institutional foundation will guarantee the development, on a competitive basis, of the pension system, the social security system, education, health care, housing, and the development of independent unions. On the whole, this will create a sound base for a decent life, including for the economically inactive part of the population, and will allow us to finally and definitively defeat poverty in Russia.
Part I Part II Part III Part IV

[1] Mayors are still directly elected in Russia, although there has been talk of having them appointed by the city legislature. Regional governors are now appointed by the president from a list of candidates submitted by the regional legislature, a reform implemented by then President Putin in 2005. The state legislature (Duma) is now elected by proportional representation – meaning that citizens only vote for a party and that party may then appoint candidates to a percentage of legislative seats equal to the proportion of votes they secured.

[2] In reforms in 2007, a minimum percentage of 7% was implemented for parties competing for the state legislature. This was recently lowered to 5% at the initiative of President Medvedev.

[3] Terms were increased via a controversial constitutional amendment in 2008. The presidential term was extended from four years to six, to be effective beginning in 2012, while terms for the Duma legislators was increased from four to five years. The way this is worded in the Russian, it may refer to the specific increase recently implemented, or refer to any additional increase.

[4] The Russian constitution both before and after its amendment contained this clause concerning two consecutive terms. Many hypothesize that now Prime Minister Putin will return to power in 2012 – having already served two terms, but now having served as prime Minister for one term, and thus able to return to power.

[5] Russia’s law on NGOs was also modified in 2006, placing what many saw as unreasonable demands for registering and maintaining such organizations. Here, Right Cause is suggesting that a system be put in place similar to that offered to most business now, where, instead of registering and obtaining permits, they are only required to inform certain government agencies that they have started operations.

[6] Several “Development Institutes” were founded in Russia in 2005-2006 in a government effort to jump start small businesses and innovative companies. These institutes include the Russian Venture Company (Российская Венчурная Компания), the Regional Development Fund (Институт Развития Регионов) and the Federal Institute for the Development of Education (Федеральный институт развития образования), among others,

[7] Roads have long been one of the Russian economy’s main problems. Most of the roads – and railroads – that exist run to Moscow or to a few other major transport hubs, creating a very centralized economic model. America, by contrast, is crisscrossed by a variety of roads that allow more direct transport between smaller locations and thus a greater diversity of economic ties between them. While many Russians will point to soil quality and weather as reasons that they do not have a developed system of roads, it is important to remember that Canada and Alaska face the same challenges and yet have well-maintained transportation systems.

[8] This is widely seen as the basis of the economic policy developed and implemented by Vladimir Putin. Elsewhere in this document, Right Cause implies that all monopolies should be broken – but this seems to imply that some natural monopolies should be allowed to continue functioning.

[9] “Form of ownership” refers to the fact that Russia has several government-owned enterprises that are seen as having privileged positions in several markets.

[10] These have been two other hot political/economic issues. The privatizations of the 1990s were largely seen as corrupt – many politicians have called from them to be reviewed and possibly reversed, although many other politicians have argued that this would actually harm Russia’s business environment by calling into question the government’s commitment to protecting private property. Tax amnesty has also been discussed, as many businesses in Russia have traditionally avoided paying taxes. Tax amnesty would allow them to come to forward, claim back taxes, and pay them without fines or legal action. Supporters say it would increase government revenue; detractors say it would only encourage businesses to “delay” payments.

[11] The average income in central Europe is currently about $1300 per month. Average wage in Russia is approximately $600 nationwide.

[12] This point is interesting in that most of Russia’s political parties declare Russia a welfare state to one degree or another, saying that it is the government’s responsibility to provide most social services.

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

View all posts by: Josh Wilson

Erin Decker

Erin Decker holds a BA in Political Science and International Studies (Global Security) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing SRAS’s Translate Abroad program in 2009, she went on to find employment as a translator and editor in Moscow and has lived there since.

View all posts by: Erin Decker