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Organizing Committee of the “Round Table of 12 December” to Set Conditions for Talks with Putin

Source: (info), 29/12/11 

· Electoral rights 

The organizing committee of the “Round Table of 12 December” has approved an initiative by former minister of finance Aleksei Kudrin to hold talks between government and the opposition. The statement issued by the organizing committee says that “Kudrin will be informed of the principles and conditions for holding such talks over the next two days”. Members of the organizing committee are ex-prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, political scientist Georgy Satarov and human rights defender Ludmila Alekseeva. 

As reports, on 26 January the first meeting of the Round Table that was set up on Constitution Day (12 December) by a group of academics, cultural figures and civil society leaders, will take place. The stated aim of the forum is to “prevent a political or social explosion in the country and to formulate a systemic alternative to the authoritarian regime led by Vladimir Putin”. A memorandum and appeal by the founders of the Round Table of 12 December was signed by Leonid Parfenov, Boris Akunin, Olga Romanova, Vladimir Sorokin, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Liya Akhedzhakova, Yury Ryzhov, Dmitry Zimin, Yury Norshtein, Sergei Gandlevsky, Dmitry Muratov, Svetlana Sorokina, Andrei Piontkovsky and others. 

The organizers also invited to take part in the January meeting “leaders of public opinion among young people”; representatives of Yabloko, The Other Russia, and Left Front; the politicians Gennady Gudkov, Garry Kasparov, Aleksei Navalny, and Ilya Ponomarev; representatives of human rights organizations and independent trade unions; and also members of the organizing committees of the rallies on Bolotnaya Square and Sakharov Prospect. 

On 28 December Vladimir Putin stated that the opposition had “many leaders” and they “must draw up a common platform and common position.” Putin said he could hold talks with any of those who had spoken at the rally on Sakharov Prospect on 24 December “about their grievances.” At the same time Putin said that he “does not even know who was there.” 

Speaking at the rally, Aleksei Kudrin had proposed the creation of a group of negotiators. Kurdrin offered to act as an “independent intermediary” for talks on working out a programme of political reform and rules for holding the upcoming presidential elections. Kudrin said that Putin was ready to hold honest elections on 4 March, and that if he wins he should be recognized as the legitimate head of state. 

For his part Aleksei Navalny stated that talks were already underway – “in an acceptable public format, through the resolutions of the rallies at Bolotnaya Square and Sakharov Prospect.” Navalny wrote in his blog: “The demands are so simple and obvious that there is no need for anyone else to uncode them.” He did not exclude that in the future a “group of negotiators” might be needed, but at present “no one has the authority to conduct talks” on behalf of the whole protest movement. "Anyone who says anything to the contrary is an impostor’, Navalny concluded.
Rights in Russia,
10 Jan 2012, 03:37