MOSCOW, December 17 (Itar-Tass) — The Opposition Coordination Council that held a meeting in Moscow on Sunday proclaimed comprehensive political reform in Russia as a key objective of its action program.
The participants in the meeting adopted a statement on tasks and objectives of the Opposition Coordination Council. The document describes the December 2011 elections to the Russian State Duma and the power bodies that were formed in the aftermath as illegitimate. The Opposition Coordination Council is planning to seek their replacement by a “peaceful anti-criminal revolution.”
The Council will try to use all forms of assistance available to it to support opposition candidates at various regional, local and municipal elections but doesn’t intend to nominate its own candidates.
Dmitry Nekrasov, the Council’s executive secretary, said that 42 amendments had already been made to the document. They will be handed over to the editing group. “Let’s consider the document to be passed in the first reading,” said Gennady Gudkov, the former deputy of the Russian State Duma, who presided over the meeting.
The Coordination Council’s members admitted that their supporters were tired of rallies. Boris Nemtsov, a co-chairman of the RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party) party, said that a huge number of people had refused to participate in the Saturday action outside the Solovetsky Stone in Moscow because it hadn’t been sanctioned by the authorities.
“We are dealing with some kind of exhaustion. People expected an instant result. But this is not a sprint. This is a marathon,” Ilya Yashin, another member of the Opposition Coordination Council, said.
Some Council members said that the next opposition action should be organized next spring so that the opposition had enough time to get permission from the authorities. They expect to draw at least 150,000-200,000 people. However, the Council didn’t set the date for the spring action.
The Opposition Coordination Council agreed to set up more than ten permanent working groups in the main areas of activities and approved an idea of holding primaries to nominate a single opposition candidate at the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in the Moscow region and mayoral elections in Yekaterinburg.
Boris Nemtsov said that ex-deputy Gennady Gudkov stood a good chance in the Moscow region.
Nemtsov also told the meeting that half of the Opposition Coordination Council’s members didn’t pay monthly membership dues initially set at 5,000 rubles.
Yevgeniya Chirikova, an Opposition Coordination Council member, explained it wasn’t clear to the people how the money was spent. She said she didn’t understand why it was necessary to rent meeting rooms if free-of-charge space could be found.
Ex-deputy Gennady Gudkov who chaired the meeting said it had been impossible to find such premises until recently while Executive Secretary Dmitry Nekrasov said that renting a room for each meeting cost almost 100,000 rubles.
Opinions were also divided over payments to the lawyers of Leonid Razvozzhayev, an arrested member of the Opposition Coordination Council. Finally, a decision was made to temporary suspend the payments.
“I will tell them tomorrow that we are not going to pay them any longer,” Olga Romanova said.