On Nov. 4-7, a new “Parallel Parliament” for Russia was formed at the “First Congress of People’s Deputies of Russia” in Warsaw. The delegates set themselves the ambitious goal of laying the foundations for a free post-Putin Russia.
The first congress was attended by legally elected representatives of the people of Russia. The delegates are all former officials who served Russia at different times and different levels.
Currently in exile, the delegates are not tainted by any form of collaboration with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship; are not complicit in the Kremlin’s crimes; and have rejected Russia’s war against Ukraine since it began in 2014.
According to a press release from the event, given the current climate where democratic elections in Russia are not possible, members of the Federal Assembly, regional legislatures, municipal deputies, as well as elected representatives of the executive, are the only representatives of society and the state with democratic legitimacy received from Russian citizens – their voters.
The organizing committee of the congress includes:
- Gennady Gudkov (State Duma deputy);
- Ilya Ponomarev (State Duma deputy);
- Mark Feigin (State Duma deputy);
- Nina Belyaeva (deputy of the Semiluki District Council of the Voronezh Region);
- Pyotr Tsarkov (deputy of the Krasnoselsky Municipal District of Moscow);
- Arkady Yankovsky (State Duma deputy); and
- Elena Lukyanova (invited expert-constitutionalist, professor, Ph.D. in law).
The congress adopted a Founding Declaration and several appeals: to international governments and to citizens of Russia and Ukraine.
The delegates also ratified the Constitutive Declaration of the International Anti-Authoritarian Alliance (IAAS), which aims to coordinate action against authoritarian and undemocratic regimes.
Participants intend to establish a democratic government in their respective countries, elected in free and fair elections. The document was signed by Ponomarev, Inna Kurochkina, Cabinet of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and Muhiddin Kibiri, National Alliance of Tajikistan.
They will soon be joined by representatives of the United National Movement (Georgia), National Movement Azamat (Kazakhstan), and the Democratic Choice of Turkmenistan.
Delegates also considered many other documents. Among them were decrees of the new government, a draft Transitional Parliament Act and a new draft Constitution. The lustration bill is to be improved in working groups and presented at the second congress event.
The assembly asserted that the document promises amnesty to anyone who removes Putin. In particular, the act proposes to exempt from lustration and other penalties anyone “who physically removes or delivers to an international criminal court Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, or substantially assists in the commission of such an act.”
The event was hosted by the organizational committee assembled upon the initiative of Ponomarev, a member of the Russian State Duma from 2007-2016. He was the only member of the Russian Parliament to vote against the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Ponomarev was forced into exile by Putin shortly afterward but continued to serve in the Duma from outside the country. He has lived in Kyiv since 2016.
Ponomarev’s new book is titled “Does Putin Have to Die? The Story of How Russia Becomes a Democracy after Losing to Ukraine”.