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Liberals admit Russia not ready for "street democracy"
Moscow, 12 December: The problems of democracy, civic freedoms and relations between business and society in Russia are being discussed in Moscow by the All-Russian Civic Congress - Russia for Democracy and Against Dictatorship.
"The plans of the congress are plans of the people!" is one of the slogans which were distributed among the congress's participants. Mainly they are representatives of liberal parties - Yabloko and the Union of the Right Forces.
A declaration on joint action passed by the congress reads that the opposition "is prepared for tough action, including the organization of mass actions of civil disobedience", but speakers at the congress are saying themselves that in fact society is not ready for "street democracy".
The congress noted that liberal values were not supported at the latest parliamentary elections and are moving to the background in the context of current political realities.
"There can be no orange revolution [reference to the Ukrainian protests] here. First of all because the ambitions of our politicians, including myself, are inordinately high and, unfortunately, have been put above Russia's national interests," Boris Nemtsov, who had resigned as leader of the Union of the Right Forces after the defeat in the elections, said at the congress.
Human right campaigner Sergey Kovalev said that in the fight for votes many political leaders and parties, unlike civil organizations, had been forced to renounced civic society values. Kovalev believes that supporters of liberal values can unite today not on the basis of political parties but precisely on the basis of civil organizations.