The Right Cause Party (Pravoe Delo) was established on 16 November 2008 on a parity basis by merging three movements that ceased to exist immediately before that - Civil Force (Grazhdanskaya Sila; GS), the Russian Democratic Party (Demokraticheskaya Partiya Rossii; DPR) and the Union of Right Forces (Soyuz Pravykh Sil; SPS).
According to political scientists, it competes with the unregistered People's Freedom Party (Parnas) for the title of Russia's leading liberal/pro-western force and spiritual successor to the Russia's Choice Party in the 1990s.
Three Sources and Three Component Parts. The Party of Network Distributors
The party, which completed its earthly life under the name Civil Force, was established on February 8, 2002, under the title Russian Network Party to Support Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (RSP). The RSP's Organizing Committee was formed in November 2001 in Ekaterinburg, during the 2nd Congress of Euro-Asian Network Distributors. The party's Organizing Committee and Federal Political Council were headed by Alexander Ryavkin, a medicine and physiotherapy equipment trader from Ekaterinburg. The party was registered on September 20, 2002, becoming the only registered party under the current law with its headquarters outside Moscow (in Ekaterinburg).
On April 25, 2004, the 2nd RSP Congress decided to rename the party as Svobodnaya Rossiya (Free Russia). The name was taken by Irina Khakamada: on March 24, I. Khakamada (who left the Union of Right Forces after the presidential election, submitted a notice to the Ministry of Justice concerning the establishment of the Free Russia
Party's Organizing Committee). A. Ryavkin was unanimously elected leader of the party and Chairman of the OC.
On June 1, 2004, the Ministry of Justice introduced the new name in the party's registration documents. After all these events, A. Ryavkin invited I. Khakamada to attend the 3rd 'Emergency' 'Namesake' Party Congress. When she refused, the party issued a statement demanding her not to call herself the leader of the Free Russia Party. According to Khakamada's statements during a press conference, Ryavkin offered to buy the name for 1 million dollars. After a brief and unsuccessful attempt to defend her claim over the name, Khakamada decided to call her own party - which nevertheless hadn't been created yet - Our Choice (Nash Vybor).
The Free Russia Party invested heavily in the elections for the Moscow City Duma of December 4, 2005. The party's candidate list was headed by A. Ryavkin, Maria Arbatova (a radical feminist and leader of the Human Rights Party, which had lost its registration prerogatives) and Vladimir Shmelev (a young politician and political analyst who also happened to be the Chairman of the unregistered New Right Party). The list also included well-known internet commentators Egor Kholmogorov (orthodox nationalist) and Maxim Kononenko (also known as Mr. Parker, back then a recent ultraliberal who had joined the conservative camp). Most of the campaign funds were spent on a TV and print media ad saying: "Don't vote for Yabloko [Apple]- It's rotten!". After that, the State Duma passed a special amendment to the electoral law banning propaganda against competitors in service announcements. The list obtained 2.22% of the votes (7th place out of 9) in the Moscow elections.
In May 2006, at the 5th Party Congress, Konstantin Babkin - an important entrepreneur, President of the Union of Agriculture Machinery Manufacturers, CEO of the Novoye Sodruzhestvo industrial holding (which includes the Rostselmash plant) - joined the party and was appointed Central Committee Chairman. He is also said to be the party's main sponsor.
The party contested the elections the Novgorod Duma elections (October 8, 2006) with great success: 11.03% of the votes and the third place, after United Russia and the Communist Party (two seats). Konstantin Babkin headed the list, and Anton Balov - the future Secretary of SPS's Political Council - was responsible for the campaign. The remaining regional campaigns (Sverdlovsk region in 2004, 2006 and 2008; the Altai Republic in 2006; North Ossetia in 2007; and Yaroslavl region 2008) did not yield any mandates.
On March 27, 2007, the Party's Extraordinary Congress brought a new party name: Civil Force (Grazhdanskaya Sila). One reason for the rebranding was that voters often confused Free Russia with Mironov's Fair Russia, created in the fall of 2006; on the other hand, Irina Khakamada was still associated with that name. The party's symbol became a sunflower, and Mikhail Barschevsky - lawyer, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Russian Government in the Constitutional, Supreme and Supreme Arbitration courts - became Civil Force's main "talking head" He headed the party's Supreme Council, which also included writers Eduard Uspensky, Tatyana Ustinova and Leonid Zhukhovitskii, playwright Mark Rozovskii, entertainer Valdis Pelsh, former Housing Minister Yefim Basin, Veronica Borovik-Khilchevskaya (Artyom Borovik's widow), singer Tamara Gverdtsiteli, musician Alex Kortnev, and Green Party leader Anatoly Panfilov.
Held on September 23, 2007, the 8th Party Congress put forward an electoral list headed by Mikhail Barshchevsky, Alexander Ryavkin and State Duma deputy Viktor Pokhmelkin - the leader of the Russian Motorists Movement. During the campaign, the party presented itself as the "true right-wing party", raising the banner of liberalism after the "old democratic parties" (SPS and Yabloko) "moved to the left." Mikhail Barshchevsky called his electorate the 20% of economically successful citizens, argued for the right to euthanasia, freedom to bear arms, freedom of abortion, and the rights of smokers and cyclists. The party's program proclaimed liberal values, such as low taxes and low social expenditure, and called for an influential middle class. Results of the December 2, 2007 elections: 733.604 votes (1.05%), 7th out of 11.
On December 10, 2007, the Civil Force party (GS) became one of the four parties who called on Vladimir Putin to adopt Dmitry Medvedev as a candidate for the 2008 presidential elections.
In late August 2008, GS commenced negotiations to merge with the DPR (Russian Democratic Party), which merged with the SPS (Union of Right Forces) on September 26. On October 2, the GS Federal Political Council, under the chairmanship of A. Ryavkin, agreed to dissolve in favor of a new party. On the same day, GS Supreme Council Chairman M. Barschevsky resigned, offering his place in the trilateral talks to Boris Titov, Co-Chairman of the Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia) association, who had a modest background as far as activities within the GS were concerned.
An unscheduled GS meeting held on November 15, 2008 decided to dissolve the party. The party's website, symbols, and membership database were transferred to a pan-Russian nonprofit organization called Civil Force (Chairman: Valery Ivanovsky), which had been created in the same month. The premises on Myasnitskaya Street were transferred to the Pravoe Delo (Right Cause) movement.
Three sources and three component parts. Travkin's Party
The project to create a large democratic party, challenging the power of the KPSS (Communist Party), emerged in December 1989 among the leaders of the radical wing of the Leningrad People's Front (LNF) - Marina Salie, Ilya Konstantinov, and others. Following the national and local elections of March 1990, the idea gathered traction among the leaders of Moscow's Voters Union (MOI; Lev Ponomarev, Vladimir Boxer, Vera Krieger), part of KPSS's Democratic Platform (Igor Chubais, USSR People's Deputy Nikolay Travkin, former KPSS Central Committee Officer George Khatsenkov), and the Interregional Group of the USSR People's Deputies Congress (MDG; Arkady Murashev, Gennady Burbulis). In addition to well-known politicians and democratic leaders, the project was supported by world chess champion Garry Kasparov. The other faction within the so-called Democratic Platform, including MDG leaders Yuri Afanasiev and Gavriil Popov, believed it necessary to stay as long as the Communist Party did, in order to fight conservative forces in the upcoming 28th Party Congress in the summer of 1990 The initiative group was originally composed of DPR members Nikolai Travkin, Marina Salie, Ilya Konstantinov and Lev Ponomarev.
On May 26-27, 1990, at the DPR's founding congress, most of the delegates supported Nikolay Travkin's ambition to become the party's sole Chairman; other leaders of the Organizing Committee did not agree to that, and some went on to create a party of their own party (the Free Democratic Party, or SvDPR; Marina Salje, Lev Ponomarev) while another group created the Free Democratic (liberal) faction in the DPR (Garry Kasparov, Arkady Murashov).
In 1990-93 the DPR consisted of about 10 People's Deputies from different factions of the Russian Federation, the same number of Leningrad City Council deputies, as well as several USSR and Mossovet People's Deputies. The DPR's press organ (Demokraticheskaya Rossiya; Democratic Russia) became the first opposition newspaper to be printed and distributed in official state kiosks. The DPR was a member of the Democratic Russia movement from January to November 1991.
On March 14, 1991, the DPR became the first political party to be registered by the Ministry of Justice (Reg. no. 20; the Republican and Social Democratic parties were registered on the same day). Its title as Russia's oldest party is contested by the LDPR and the KPRF, but back then they had only been registered at an All-Union level (KPSS and LDPSS).
The DRP was one of the parties that nominated Boris Yeltsin for the 1991 presidential elections. The DPR gradually adopted an oppositional stance toward President Yeltsin. This shift began in the fall of 1991, when the party called for the preservation of the Union State, and continued with the party's opposition to Gaidar's economic policies and Yeltsin's anti-parliamentary actions in December 1992 and March 1993.
For the First State Duma elections of December 12, 1993, the DPR announced a federal list with a powerful top five tier: Party Chairman Nikolai Travkin, film director Stanislav Govorukhin, academician and economist Oleg Bogomolov, as well as Nikolai Fedorov and Sergei Glazyev (both were former ministers who had resigned to protest against Yeltsin's anti-parliamentary actions). The party strongly opposed the adoption of a new Russian Constitution following the referendum of December 12, 1993, considering it an undemocratic and Bonapartist project. The DPR obtained 2,969,533 votes (5.52%) and formed the First Duma's smallest faction (15 seats). But the party obtained sensational results in Ingushetia (71.07%).
In April 1994, under Chernomyrdin's government, Nikolai Travkin became a minister without portfolio. Since then, his oppositional stance began to fade. On October 11, 1994, the DPR Duma faction approved, by a majority of votes, a motion of no-confidence against N. Travkin. On October 18, at a DPR Political Council meeting, Travkin announced the temporary suspension (until the next Congress) of his powers as Party Chairman and Parliamentary Group Leader. The 7th DPR Congress (17-18 December 1994) expressed the party's deep gratitude to N. Travkin, who didn't attend the event, and invited him to contribute to the success of the DRP project by offering his vast practical experience and reputation as an ordinary party and faction member. Sergei Glazyev was elected as the new party leader (Chairman of the National Committee). He was also the leader of the Duma parliamentary group for 40 days, but then gave his seat to Stanislav Govorukhin.
During the Second Duma elections the three party leaders were included in three different lists, but none overcame the 5 percent threshold: S. Glazyev ranked third in the Russian Communities Congress list (4.31%); S. Govoruhin was the leader of Stanislav Govorukhin's Bloc (0.99%), and O. Bogomolov was the third candidate in the Social-Democrats' list (0.13%). Two DPR members were elected to the Second Duma in single-member districts (S. Govoruhin and A. Kotkov, who then joined different parliamentary factions).
In the 1996 presidential elections Govoruhin actively supported Zyuganov, while the DPR Congress supported Alexander Lebed. DPR activists collected about 1/3 of the overall two million signatures collected for Lebed. S. Glazyev resigned his post as chairman of the party in autumn 1996, after he was assigned to the Russian Security Council (headed by A. Lebed); S. Govoruhin left the party.
Almost 10 years after Glazyev's and Govorukhin's departure, the party was led by people whose names hardly mean anything to the politicized reader - sometimes second-rate guest "Vikings" who can't survive the political milieu for long.
In autumn 1996, the party was headed by Nikolai Hrapov, who was succeeded by Victor Petrov, Vitaly Nasedkin (1998), George Khatsenkov (1998-2000), Dmitry Kuznetsov (2000-2001), Novgorod Governor Mikhail Prusak (2002-2003), Vyacheslav Zhidilyaev (February - September 2003) and Vladimir Podoprigora (2003-2005). Meanwhile, prominent DPR apparatchiks were actively engaged as political strategists in the election campaigns of various other parties, blocs and candidates - from Sergei Mavrodi to mainstream parties such as Yedinstvo (Unity) and Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia). The DPR brought up such eminent political strategists as G.Hatsenkov, V. Zhidilyaev, E. Malkin, V. Stolypin, V. Poluektov, A. Bogdanov, V. Smirnov, V. Homyakov and others.
The party didn't contest the 1999 Duma elections, since due to internal leadership squabbles it failed to register its membership in Luzhkov's/Primakov's bloc (Motherland - All Russia).
In the Duma elections of December 7, 2003, the DPR polled 136,294 votes (0.22%; 20th place out of 23 participants). Meanwhile, prominent party leaders (including Andrei Bogdanov and Vyacheslav Smirnov) successfully worked in United Russia's campaign headquarters.
Before the 2004 presidential campaign, DPR leader V. Podoprigora called for an electoral boycott but found no support among his party colleagues, who created "The First Citizens' Association for a Second Presidential Term".
In the summer of 2005, former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov announced his intention to join the DPR and entrust it with his future presidential campaign. Kasyanov not only claimed to be the party's most charismatic leader, but also intended to control the party's apparatus through his associates. The DPR could not agree to this, so it gathered the party's organizational resources and elected (at the party's 19th Congress in December 2005) a new leader: not Kasyanov but Andrei Bogdanov, a young but experienced party veteran (born in 1970, politically engaged since 1990), who was the DPR Central Committee Chairman and therefore already one of the party's top leaders.
Mikhail Kasyanov, together with Irina Khakamada and Nikolai Travkin, tried to gather his supporters in a parallel congress, but he only managed to attract a few regional branch representatives. Kasyanov's followers argued that Bogdanov's supporters were not the majority either, but the Federal Registration Service vindicated the results of Bogdanov's Congress.
In the Fifth State Duma elections of December 2007, the DPR list - headed by A. Bogdanov and V. Smirnov - obtained 89,780 votes (0.13%), finishing last out of 11 participants.
Bogdanov was one of the four registered candidates in the presidential elections of March 2008 (along with Dmitry Medvedev, Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky), polling 968,344 votes (1.30%). Bogdanov did not run under a party label but under an initiative group, which allowed him to get free TV airtime despite the fact that the DPR didn't pay for such ads during the Duma campaign.
On November 15, 2008, the party's (extraordinary) 22nd Congress approved a project that aimed to create a new party with GS and SPS members. Against the tripartite decision to disband the party, Andrei Bogdanov's Center decided to transform the DPR into a pan-Russian NGO for the development of social technologies.
Merger negotiations with the GS and the SPS were conducted by journalist Georgy Bovt, who had never been involved in DPR activities.
Three Sources and Three Component Parts. "So-Called Democrats"
Russia's Choice (Vybor Rossii; VR) was a remote precursor of the SPS party. It was founded in the context of the 1993 elections by the pro-presidential (right-wing) faction of the Democratic Russia party (the left/liberal faction created the Yabloko party) and some pro-presidential centrists. The VR list was headed by Yegor Gaidar, Sergei Kovalev and Ella Pamfilova.
In 1994-95 the VR parliamentary group was reduced from 78 to 47 deputies; one of the reasons for this was a partial deflection to other parties after the beginning of the Chechnya war in December 1994. Many VR deputies joined Viktor Chernomyrdin's movement Our Home - Russia (NDR). The deputies, who remained faithful to Gaidar, established a new party in June 1994: the Democratic Choice of Russia (Demokraticheskiy Vybor Rossii; VDR).
In the 1995 State Duma elections the VDR created an electoral bloc called Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats (VDR-OD), with the participation of the Peasant Party and the Social Democracy Party. The bloc did not overcome the 5% threshold, obtaining 3.86% of the votes (under the proportional system) and 9 seats in single-mandate constituencies. Similar movements obtained the following results: B. Fedorov's Forward, Russia! - 1.94%; Khakamada's "Common Cause" - 0.68%; K. Borovoy's Economic Freedom Party - 0.13%; Pavel Medvedev's 89 Bloc - 0.06%. In the Second State Duma, the VDR parliamentary group was headed by Sergei Yushenkov.
In late 1998 - early 1999, Egor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais announced that they were willing to disband the party in order to create a unified democratic coalition. They therefore commenced negotiations with potential allies, under Alexander Yakovlev's mediation. The result was the creation, on May 29, 1999, of a new coalition - Right Cause (Pravoye Delo; PD) - which included E. Gaidar's DVR, Boris Nemtsov's Young Russia movement, I. Khakamada's Common Cause, B.Fedorov's Forward, Russia! movement, Y. Rybakov's Democratic Russia party, L. Ponomarev's Democratic Russia movement, Y. Chernichenko's Russian Agrarian Party, A. Yakovlev's Russian Social Democracy Party, K. Borovoy's Economic Freedom Party, M. Salye's Free Russian Democrats, part of the RF Republican Party of the Russian Federation and other smaller organizations. The coalition's list was headed by Boris Nemtsov, Irina Khakamada and B.Fedorov, while the electoral headquarters were headed by Boris Nemtsov, Irina Khakamada, B. Fedorov, Gaidar, Chubais, and A. Yakovlev. Former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko took part in the first PD organizing committee, but then decided to move away and create his own movement (New Force; Novaya Sila).
In May-August 1999, on the initiative of Anatoly Chubais, the party commenced negotiations with the purpose of creating a larger political movement - which was supposed to comprise, in addition to a large number of PD members, Kiriyenko's New Force, Chernomyrdin's NDR, Titov's 'gubernatorial bloc' Voice of Russia (GR), and former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin (retired in August). The result of these negotiations was the disintegration of the GR bloc (which lost most of its governors and small parties), as well as the deflection of the Forward, Russia! movement from the PD. Stepashin, who had been offered the 1st place on the coalition's list, preferred the 2nd place on Yabloko's list. The NDR refused to join the coalition.
The Union of Right Forces (SPS) was founded on August 29, 1999, following the merger of a significant part of the PD coalition with Sergei Kiriyenko's New Force and the remnants of Titov's Voice of Russia. The VDR, New Force, Young Russia and Hasan Mirzoyev's Lawyers for the Rights and Dignity of Man were the bloc's formal founders.
The bloc also included the following parties and movements on an informal basis: Common Cause, DR Party, DR movement, KPR, RPSD, PES, SDR, V. Golovleva's Russian Taxpayers organization, A. Kara-Murza's Liberal-Conservative Union,
S. Shilova's and L. Shemaeva's Socio-Federalist Party, N. Brusnikina's New Generation, V. Gulimovoy's Young Republicans Union, part of the RPRF (K. Tochenov), part of the Living Ring Union (V. Maslyukov), and the Great Siberian Cossack Army Chief V. Dorohova. The list of candidates list was headed by Kiriyenko, Boris Nemtsov and Irina Khakamada; the Moscow regional list was headed by Egor Gaidar.
K. Titov was elected Chairman of the Political Council, while Chubais was appointed SPS Electoral Campaign Manager. Marat Gelman and Gleb Pavlovsky - spin doctors from the Effective Policy Foundation team - worked for the Union of Right Forces in the 1999 campaign. In December 1999 the SPS put forward the following slogan: 'Putin for President, Kiriyenko for the Duma. We need young blood!' SPS leaders approved the early transfer of presidential powers from Yeltsin to Putin on December 31, 1999.
On December 19, 1999, the SPS polled 5,676,982 votes (8.52%; 4th place), taking 24 seats under the proportional system; in single-seat constituencies the SPS elected 5 candidates.
On February 25, 2000, a meeting of the SPS Coordinating Council decided not to nominate a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections - supporting neither Konstantin Titov, who was supported by a number of SPS members, nor Putin, openly supported by Chubais and Kiriyenko. The issue was raised once more on March 14, 2000, during a SPS/KS joint meeting. Four KS members (Gaidar, Kiriyenko, V. Nekrutenko, Chubais) decided to support Vladimir Putin's candidacy, K. Titov voted against, and there were two abstentions (Nemtsov, Irina Khakamada). An overwhelming majority. On March 20, 2000, following this decision, the SPS Political Council - headed by Konstantin Titov - dissolved itself.
The founding congress of the Unity bloc, comprising the Pan-Russian Political Public Organization (OPOO) and the Union of Right Forces (SPS), was held on May 20, 2000. The OPOO SPS structure comprised 9 founding organizations: DVR, DR Party, Common Cause, Young Russia, New Force, Voice of Russia, New Generation (a New Force satellite), Russian Taxpayers (a DVR satellite), and Lawyers for the Rights and Dignity of Man. S. Yushenkov's Liberal Russia movement had joined the SPS bloc under the condition of being represented in future leadership arrangements (S. Yushenkov himself was appointed member of the Russian Taxpayers Coordinating Council, headed by V. Golovleva). Other organizations were invited to join the OPOO SPS bloc under the same conditions - including members of the former SPS electoral bloc. The decisions of the Congress on key issues - such as the election of leaders - are taken by an electoral college of 14 members: one vote for each of the 9 founding organizations, and one vote for each of the five leaders (Gaidar, Chubais, Kiriyenko, Nemtsov, Hakamada), who then became OPOO SPS co-chairs (K. Titov, who in March 2000 became Chairman of the RPSD but was ousted from the leadership of the Voice of Russia movement by V. Homyakovym and A. Kara-Murza, refused to participate in the SPS and was eliminated from the list of the prospective co-chairs). Sergei Kiriyenko immediately suspended his co-chairmainship powers, since he was appointed Presidential Envoy in the Volga Federal District.
In late 2000/early 2001 there were three ideological and political positions within the SPS - depending mainly on their position regarding President Vladimir Putin:
The liberal-conformist (Chubais, A. Murashev, part of the DVR, New Force, Lawyers, DNP, GR);
The liberal-humanitarian (S. Yushenkov, S. Kovalev, Yu. Rybakov, V. Pohmelkin, part of the DVR and Democratic Russia);
Compromise (Nemtsov, Egor Gaidar, Khakamada, B.Nadezhdin).
In April-May 2001, the appointment of the party leader (Chairman of the Federal Political Council) became a major point of contention within the SPS (and particularly its main component, the DVR). The DVR's pragmatic wing adopted the position of other coalition allies (Young Russia, New Force, Common Cause, Lawyers), who believed that Nemtsov should be appointed leader, while human rights activists issued an ultimatum demanding that Y. Gaidar run for leader. At the SPS founding congress, held on May 26-27, 2001, Yegor Gaidar, having obtained a humiliating result at the Political Council election (276 votes, 30 less than Chubais, 23 less than Nemtsov, and even less than A. Kara-Murza and P. Krasheninnikova) withdrew his chairmanship candidacy. Boris Nemtsov therefore became party Chairman. Liberal Russia (Sergei Yushenkov, Victor Pohmelkin, Vladimir Golovlev), abandoned the coalition after the SPS Congress, becoming an independent party under the leadership of Boris Berezovsky.
In April 2001, SPS leaders (S. Yushenkov, Boris Nemtsov, Irina Khakamada), together with Yabloko Party members, were among the organizers and active participants of the first rally in support of NTV journalists. However, Anatoly Chubais - whose friend and supporter A. Koch headed, together with B. Yordanom, the operation to "conquer" the NTV channel - supported Gazprom and A. Koch, and therefore STS leaders Anatoly Chubais and Gaidar decided not to involve the party in the protest campaign. In particular, SPS decided not to participate in the second, and largest, Ostankino rally in support of NTV, organized by Yabloko and the Journalists Union.
In March 2003, Eldar Yanbukhtin - Chairman of the SPS Executive Committee - abandoned the SPS and joined the United Russia Party. The party's election headquarters were then headed by Alfred Koch. Marina Litvinovich, from Gleb Pavlovsky's Effective Policy Foundation (FEP), became the Deputy Head of the party's electoral headquarters. Under the Koch's leadership, the headquarters devoted considerable attention to an "intraspecific struggle" with the Yabloko party.
On September 8, 2003, the SPS Congress approved the lists of federal and district candidates for the upcoming Fourth State Duma elections. The list was headed by Boris Nemtsov, Irina Khakamada was Anatoly Chubais; Moscow's candidates were headed by Yegor Gaidar. In the St. Petersburg gubernatorial elections of September 2003, the SPS supported Valentina Matvienko.
In the elections of December 7, 2003, the SPS did not overcome the 5% threshold, obtaining 2,408,356 votes (3.97%, 6 th place). Three SPS candidates were elected in single-member constituencies: Pavel Krasheninnikov (Magnitogorsk District no. 185), Alexei Likhachev (Kstovsky District no. 121) and Arsen Fadzayev (North Ossetia District no. 22). All three of them joined the United Russia faction after being elected.
The SPS Congress of January 24-25, 2004, accepted the resignation of several Political Council co-chairs and elected 25 new members (including all former co-chairs). The Congress did not support Irina Khakamada's presidential candidacy, giving all SPS members and supporters a free vote. Khakamada obtained 2.671.313 votes (3.84%), and left the SPS.
On February 10, 2004, a Political Council meeting appointed 4 new Political Council Secretaries: Leonid Gozman (Ideology), Boris Nadezhdin (Party Legislation), Ivan Starikov (Electoral Politics) and Boris Mints (Regional Policy). Together with Victor Nekrutenko (the Executive Secretary of the Federal Border Service), they formed the party's Presidium until a new leader was elected. Gaidar requested the suspension of his Political Council duties to work on a new book.
Party members waited for the promised general election of a new Chairman for more than one year, but on April 22, 2005 the Presidium of the Federal Political Council adopted a consolidated decision on the nomination of Nikita Belykh for party Chairman (and Gozman as his Deputy Chairman). The party's Congress, held on May 28, 2005, elected N. Belykh as Chairman of the SPS Federal Border Service and L. Gozman as Deputy Chairman. I. Starikov and Maxim Geiko were the alternative candidates.
On September 10, 2005, the Moscow branch conference decided to run for the upcoming Moscow Duma elections (December 4) together with Yabloko and under its name. On September 24, 2005, the SPS Congress supported this decision, proposing Nikita Belykh to head the electoral list, an idea which met with opposition from Yabloko. The Congress put forward its own list (headed by Nikita Belykh, Mikhail Barshchevsky and Olga Romanova) in case they didn't reach an agreement with Yabloko (which they did). On December 4, 2005, the Yabloko-United Democrats list polled 11.11% of the votes (third place) and obtained three mandates: one of the seats was assigned to SPS candidate Ivan Novitsky; the other two were assigned to Yabloko members Sergei Mitrokhin and Yevgeny Bunimovich.
On December 7, 2003, the Party contested 6 of the 7 regional legislature elections - unsuccessfully. In 2004, the party elected 5 Legislative Assembly candidates: 2 of them in coalitions with Yabloko (Arkhangelsk region) and the Russian People's Party (Irkutsk), 3 on its own (Bryansk, Tula, Kurgan region). 5 of the campaigns were unsuccessful (including one with Yabloko). The SPS did not put forward a regional list in Kaluga, but won in 4 single-member constituencies. In 2005, the party was involved in 13 campaigns, winning in 5 regions (Amur, Ryazan and Ivanovo regions; Moscow and Chechnya). Out of six formal and informal SPS/Yabloko coalitions, only one was successful (Moscow). In the spring of 2006, the party lost all three campaigns in which it was involved, including the Nizhny Novgorod region - homeland of Boris Nemtsov, who once headed the local Legislative Assembly.
At the SPS Congress of September 19, 2006, it was announced that the party's main target would be the United Russia party and the President, arguing that he had ceased to "follow the path of liberal reforms towards a civilized Russia". In a separate resolution, the party announced the results that it hoped to achieve in all parliamentary and presidential elections between 2007 and 2017 - with the exception of the 2008 presidential election. Boris Nemtsov criticized this omission, saying that the party would have no future if it refused to contest the 2008 elections, and that to support any "successor" - even a decent one - would be an insult to the Russian people and the Constitution.
During the December 2006, elections in the Perm region the SPS list, headed by Nikita Belykh, got 16.3% of the votes - the second best result, after United Russia. The delegates to the party congress held on December 16, 2006, regarded the party's success in Perm as a triumph of Nikita Belykh's charismatic personality and Anton Bakov's electoral technologies (the latter was co-opted to the SPS Presidium). Congress recommended the termination of merger talks with Yabloko, considering them futile.
In March-April 2007 the SPS approved lists for 14 out of 15 regions (except for the Murmansk Region), registering 13 (except for Dagestan). On March 11 and April 15, 2007, the SPS elected deputies to the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Komi, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Stavropol Krai, Samara and Tomsk. In three regions (Moscow, Leningrad, Orel) the SPS obtained 6.9% to 6.99% of the votes; the party felt that these victories were stolen by a dishonest vote count.
The VR/DVR/SPS bloc was the strongest faction in the first three Moscow City Dumas (1993-2005) - up to 6 mainly pro-Lushkov deputies, led by Speaker Vladimir Platonov. In 2001-2002, most of these deputies left the SPS. In 2007, the party ceased to be represented in Moscow's two legislative bodies.
Ivan Novitsky, the only remaining SPS deputy at the Moscow City Duma, was ousted from the party after voting for Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's approval; Novitsky joined the ER faction. In. St. Petersburg, the new SPS leadership quarreled with local activists and lost the Legislative Assembly elections of March 11, 2007, obtaining 5.17% of the votes.
In the Fourth Duma elections of December 2007, the Party had but one demand: to increase pension payments by 2.5 times. But caving to administrative pressure and other constraints, the SPS began to criticize the so-called "Putin personality cult" and the United Russia party (calling it the "Putin Clan"). The SPS also decided to join in the 'March of Dissent' (organized by Other Russia, an opposition coalition) on November 24-25, 2007, in Moscow and St. Petersburg. SPS leaders were arrested during the St. Petersburg march; the police broke L. Gozman's arm. Election results: 669,444 votes (0.96%). The fact that the SPS ranked behind the Civil Force Party - considered as a "spoiler" - was particularly difficult to digest.
In late November 2007, without waiting for the Duma elections, the SPS Federal Political Council proposed Boris Nemtsov as the party's candidate for the 2008 presidential elections. On December 17, 2007, the proposal was accepted by the party congress. On December 22, 2007, the CEC registered Boris Nemtsov as the party's authorized representative and opened him a special election account. But on December 26, Nemtsov announced the withdrawal of his candidacy and urged "opposition candidates Zyuganov and Kasyanov (...) to give the Putin-Surkov group an ultimatum, demanding:
1) Candidate Dmitry Medvedev's presence in presidential debates;
2) Equal access to federal TV channels - Pervomu, Rossyia, NTV;
3) The immediate abolition of the so-called stop-lists, approved by Putin and Surkov, according to which federal TV channels may not allow opposition politicians (N. Belykh, V. Ryzhkova, Glaziev, Kasparov and others) to participate in political debate shows.
4) Abolish the use of intelligence agencies and administrative resources by authorities during the elections.
I believe that the authorities' refusal to fulfill these four conditions is a good reason for you not to boycott these elections. "
On February 13, 2008, Boris Nemtsov suspended his party membership.
On September 26, 2008, the SPS Federal Political Council agreed with the Kremlin's proposal "to take part in the creation of a legitimate right-wing party system," on an equal footing with the DPR and the GS. On the same day, Party Chairman Nikita Belykh left the party in protest against this decision (soon after this incident, Belykh was appointment Kirov Regional Governor by Medvedev).
On November 15, the 14th SPS Congress decided to disband the party: 97 votes against 9, with 2 abstentions. Boris Nemtsov, who had restored his SPS membership during the congress itself, urged the party not to disband, promising full support and funding.
After the dissolution of the SPS, party members created - as it had been decided by the final SPS congress - an eponymous pan-Russian NGO, which inherited the sps.ru website. The organization's Chairman is L. Gozman, while V. Nekrutenko is the Executive Director. The Presidium also includes B. Nadezhdin, Anatoly Ermolin and Alexei Kara-Murza.
Young politician Maria Gaidar filed a lawsuit in Moscow's Tagansky District Court against the illegitimate dissolution of the SPS, citing procedural violations in the final congress. On January 21, 2009, the court recognized the legitimacy of the process by which the SPS was disbanded. Soon after that, Maria Gaidar became an adviser to Kirov Regional Governor Nikita Belykh.
Merger and registration
The Founding Congress of the Right Cause Party (Pravoye Delo; PD) was held on November 16, 2008, at the President Hotel in Moscow. GS, DPR and SPS members were on a strictly equal footing as regards the election of delegates to the congress and the party's leadership. Formally, however, the party was established 'from scratch', which allowed the founding organizations not to pay broadcasting time and print space debts from the 2007-2008 parliamentary and presidential elections. The party was headed by a triumvirate consisting of L. Gozman (SPS), Boris Titov (GS) and Georgy Bovt (DPR). But if Gozman was SPS Deputy Chairman after Belykh's resignation, legitimately inheriting the party's leadership, Titov and Bovt did not emerge until the merger negotiations. Therefore, the most influential figures in GS and DPR regional branches and leadership structures remained, respectively, brothers Alexander and Sergei Ryakvin, and A. Bogdanov and V. Smirnov.
The new party's organizational powers were concentrated in the hands of Executive Committee Chairman Andrei Dunayev, formally appointed by the GS party but considered a "Kremlin creature".
Pravoe Delo (PD) was registered as a political party by the Ministry of Justice on February 18, 2009. The first regional election in which the party was involved was the October 2009 election.
In November 2010, Leonid Gozman announced that in the upcoming 2012 presidential elections the party would support Dmitry Medvedev (who, however, was not a candidate).
2009-2011 Regional elections
Not having a registration certificate yet, the party was involved in the municipal elections of March 2009 - these were the last elections in which not only parties but also social movements had the right to present lists under the proportional system. Headed by Sergei Andreyev - the Deputy Head of the Political Council of PD's Samara Branch - the December movement polled 26% of the votes in the Togliatti City Duma elections. In the suburban town of Dolgoprudny, 25% of the seats in the Deputies Council were won by the City Council movement, an NGO headed by some former and present PD members. In Petrozavodsk's mayoral elections (July 5, 2009) Alexander Temnyshev, backed by the PD, ranked second with 16.2% of the votes.
In October 2009, the party lost two regional campaigns (Mari El, Tula Region) and did not contest the main regional constituency - Moscow. In March 2010, the party was involved in 2 out of 8 elections (Voronezh, Ryazan Region), losing both.
In October 2010, the PD party unsuccessfully stood for elections in the Magadan and Chelyabinsk regions, including single-member constituencies and Kostroma. But Dmitry Orlov, the head of the party's Perm branch won the by-election in a single-mandate constituency and became a member of the Perm Legislative Assembly, where there is a powerful SPS faction since 2006 (6 out of 60 deputies).
According to the results of the six 2009-2010 campaigns, the party obtained more than 1%, but less than 2% of the votes (except in Mari, where it got 2.2%).
In March 2011, the party entered Dagestan's Regional Parliament/National Assembly, winning 5.09% of the votes and 1 mandate (obtained by Magomed Shabanov, the Chairman of the regional branch). The party did not participate in the remaining 11 days of the campaign.
In autumn 2011, Regional Assemblies still had several deputies from PD's defunct founding parties: 2 from the Civil Force Party (Novgorod region) and 14 from the SPS (Perm Territory: 6; Stavropol Territory, Krasnoyarsk Territory and Tomsk region: 2; Samara region: 1 - all under the proportional system; Pskov region: 1 single-mandate). However, not all of them joined the new party. The official party statistics for autumn 2011 show 12 regional deputies, 364 municipal deputies and 9 elected heads of municipalities.
A party looking for a leader
In the spring of 2011, several media reports suggested that Right Cause would be headed by a top federal official. In particular, the names of Igor Shuvalov (Deputy Chairman of the Russian government) and Alexei Kudrin (Minister of Finance) were mentioned.
All speculation ended on June 25, 2011, when the party's 2nd Extraordinary Congress appointed multi-billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov as PD leader. He was elected sole party Chairman with a very broad 4-year mandate. The Political Council was reduced from 33 to 11 members. In addition to the Chairman, it included Vladimir Kedrinski (Prokhorov's associate at Norilsk Nikelyu), Andrei Dunayev (Executive Committee Chairman), 2 members from each of the three founding parties, and the Chairmen of the regional Perm and Dagestan branches, who had been successful in the aforementioned elections.
In his keynote speech, Prokhorov urged the party to purge the word 'opposition' from its lexicon, "because citizens associate it with marginal groups that have lost touch with reality." He also claimed to be skeptical about the old party slogan 'Capitalism for All': according to him, capitalism is not for everyone, it's for those who like the risk, and the state should provide social guarantees to the remaining population.
The Congress was attended by famous TV actor Alexander Lyubimov, actor Leonid Yarmolnik, political analyst Vladislav Inozemtsev, and film director Pavel Lungin. He entered into negotiations with Yevgeny Roizman (Fourth State Duma deputy and founder of Ekaterinburg's Gorod Bez Narkotikov [Drug-Free City] Foundation).
Stern Prokhorov and omnipotent Bogdanov
Prokhorov made a small internal revolution in St. Petersburg, the country's most important region after Moscow. He single-handedly decided to exclude more than 1000 members from the local party branch, replacing them with 220 new Petersburgers. Sergey Tsybukov, the leader of St. Petersburg's Pravoe Delo, was replaced by Maxim Dolgopolov.
Dolgopolov is a young St. Petersburg businessman engaged in social activities and the security business. He was under suspicion by UAE authorities for the murder of Sulim Yamadayev, but he was released for lack of evidence.
Before the 3rd Congress elections, the Andrei Bogdanov/Vyacheslav Smirnov group (former DPR) replicated the "party purge" conducted by Mikhail Kasyanov in December 2005. The composition of the Congress displeased Mikhail Prokhorov, who announced his resignation in absentia. Prokhorov blamed his decision on the machinations of Vladislav Surkov (Deputy Head of the Presidential Executive Office) and urged the President to dismiss Surkov. According to Prokhorov, Kremlin antagonism could not deter him from his decision to offer Yevgeny Roizman a top position in the party's electoral list.
Congress delegates accepted Prokhorov's resignation and appointed Andrei Dunayev (Executive Committee Chairman) as the party's interim Chairman.
The Right Cause Party inherited its membership in the International Democratic Union (the international conglomerate for neo-liberal and conservative parties) from its predecessors (SPS and DVR).
Following Prokhorov's resignation the International Democratic Union suspended the party's membership, arguing that the IDU cannot be represented by a party that is controlled by the Kremlin's authoritarian regime.
At the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, deputies from Russia's Choice, SPS and DVR (S. Kovalyov under a Yabloko quota in the Second Duma) are included in the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.
The 3rd PD Congress approved a federal list (at the time of registration: 301 members) headed by Andrey Dunayev, Andrei Bogdanov, and tennis player Anna Chakvetadze. The top ten also included Vyacheslav Smirnov and Vladislav Inozemtsev, as well as SPS veterans Grigory Tomchin and Vyacheslav Maratkanov.
Prominent SPS figures, who headed the regional sub-lists, include: Artur Mäki (Karelia), Alexander Perehvatov (Ryazan region), Gasan Mirzoev (Tver region) and Nikolai Salangin (Tomsk Region). One of the three Moscow groups was headed by Vladimir Nikitin (DPR), while the Sverdlovsk regional group was headed by the Ryavkin brothers.
The party's showing in the federal elections: 0.60% (last place).
For the regional elections of December 4, 2011, the Right Cause Party approved 14 lists, registered in 11 regions. Boris Nadezhdin, the most famous regional PD branch leader (Moscow region) at a federal level, conducted his campaign for the Moscow Regional Duma without using the party's symbols and name, called the PD list a "third force" movement, and called for a vote for Yabloko in the federal elections (in response, Yabloko Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin supported Nadezhdin's list in the suburban constituencies where Yabloko didn't have a list). With 5.01% of the votes, the party elected only one deputy (Ingushetia Parliament).
This caused a serious quarrel within the party. Although he had distanced himself from the federal PD list, Boris Nadezhdin insisted that Andrei Bogdanov should not be the party's representative on federal TV debates, while the latter promised to oust the former from the party - after the elections. However, Nadezhdin voluntarily left the party after the elections and entered into negotiations with Mikhail Prokhorov, Aleksei Kudrin and other political leaders for the creation of a new liberal party.
After summing up the results of the parliamentary elections, party Chairman Andrei Dunayev announced his resignation and said that the upcoming January Congress would have to decide on the future of the Right Cause Party. Later, the Federal Political Council postponed the Congress to February.
2012 - 2016: reorganization and renaming as the Party of Growth
On March 23, 2012 the State Duma approved a number of amendments to Federal Law FL-95, simplifying the registration of political parties. Following this, several former PD members created their own parties. Mikhail Prokhorov created and registered the Civil Platform Party; his followers soon joined this new project. Ryavkin Alexander and Vladislav Inozemtsev resurrected the Civil Force Party, Andrei Nechayev founded and headed the Civic Initiative Party, while Andrei Bogdanov restored his Russian Democratic Party.
In August 2012, the party invited Ivan Okhlobystin to develop a new ideology. On October 5, 2012, following the Holy Synod's decision to prohibit the presence of clergy in political parties, Okhlobystin left the party, saying that he had been a mere spiritual mentor (advisor). On November 3, 2012, Andrei Dunayev announced that the Right Cause Party needed a new approach and would now pursue right-wing policies with a "national-patriotic bias."
On November 26, 2012, PD leader Andrei Dunayev raised the issue of the legalization of prostitution in Russia. He said that the party initended to conduct case studies on the issue, bring it to parliamentary discussion, and possibly collect signatures for legalization.
On December 18, 2012, Andrei Dunayev resigned from the post of party Chairman; he was replaced by Vyacheslav Maratkanov, who had served as Deputy Chairman three years earlier.
In the single-day elections of September 8, 2013, the party re-elected two of its single-constituency deputies to the Syrzan City Councill. The party approved three candidates for the Togliatti City Council elections. One of them was Go-Go dancer Christina Kazakova, who aroused media interest and scandal, but this did not help the party overcome the electoral threshold.
On March 26, 2016, chaired by Boris Titov, the party was renamed the Party of Growth (Partiya Rosta). After the party's reorganization and renaming, former party Chairman Vyacheslav Maratkanov created the Right Cause NGO.
According to several media and political analysts, Titov's party is entirely aligned with the President's Executive Office, with which, for instance, he coordinated the appointment of Presidium and Political Council candidates. Titov himself admitted that the new party project involves the President's Executive Office, and that it is supervised by the First Deputy Head of the President's Executive Office (Vyacheslav Volodin).
That very same day, a special council called Blue Sky Thinking was created. Ideologically close to the PR, council members - consisting of several public figures and experts - refused to join the party's governing bodies or to receive a membership card. It included HRC member Irina Hakamada; actor Leonid Yarmolnik; film director Pavel Lungin; freelance journalist Georgy Bovt; Yakov Mirkin -Chairman of the Committee for Financial Markets and Credit Organizations/Chamber of Commerce; Nikolai Kovarskii - Co-Chairman of the Club 2015 Association of Managers and Entrepreneurs; and Yan Melkumov - advisor to the Moscow branch of Renova Capital Advisers Ltd and the Moscow branch of Japanese company Sodzhitts (some of these council members were involved in Mikhail Prokhorov's political projects, who once headed the right Cause Party).
In May 2016, the Party of Growth and Civil Initiative Party reached an agreement on a common candidate list.
From May 29 to June 4, 2016, the party held a primary election (called Tribune Growth) for the selection of State Duma and Regional election candidates.
The party's program was an "economic growth" document drafted by Boris Titov and Sergei Glazyev - an advisor to RF President Vladimir Putin. Its mains goals are "to reduce the key rate to 5.5%", "to monetize the economy and obtain at least a two-fold increase in money supply" and to make courts independent from executive power. The party also calls for political freedom, freedom of choice and movement, internet freedom and freedom of enterprise. In the published program, the goal of establishing the rule of law ranks sixth out of ten.
According to Boris Titov, the party's main goal is to change the face of Russian economy, and to achieve this end it is willing to cooperate with the current government and its allies. The party criticized Central Bank leaders and Medvedev's economic and financial policies (meanwhile, it simultaneously criticizes and defends the Plato system created by the federal government), while supporting his foreign policy, particularly the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In Russian: Партия Роста
Founders: Gozman, Titov, Bovt
Established: Saturday, 26 March 2016