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POLITICS IN TRANSLATION  / A FAIR AND JUST RUSSIA, PART II
12.08.2009


Hannah Chapman is majoring in Russian Studies, International Business, and Political Science at Stetson University. She spent spring semester, 2009 studying abroad with The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) in Moscow on the Translate Abroad Program. The translation below was produced by Ms. Chapman with the oversight of SRAS staff.

This article is the second part of a multi-part series published as part of SRAS's free monthly newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter and find out when the next installment is published, just send an email with "subscribe" in the subject field to jwilson@sras.org.
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A Fair and Just Russia
The Political Platform of Russia's Social Democrats
Part 2: The Individual & Government
A project from The School of Russian and Asian Studies
Introductions by Josh Wilson, Assistant Director, SRAS
Translations by Hannah Chapman

 Mironov at a press conference.
Sergei Mironov, the Chairman of the
Fair Russia political party in Russia.
Photo from www.spb.mironov.ru
  
In the first part of their political platform, Fair Russia proclaimed "New Socialism" as its political philsophy. In this second part, the party begins to further define that philosophy. Its central value, they argue, is the individual. The role of the state is to attend to the individual's needs.

In contrast, Socialism as practiced under the USSR, referred to in Fair Russia's platform as "soviet bureaucratic socialism," generally subjugated the needs of the individual to the needs of the state and the need to build a communist society.

Despite this obvious contrast, it is important to note Fair Russia's platform does not directly criticize the Soviet Union. In fact, it rarely refers to it at all. One reason for this is the fact that the Pensioners Party was one of Fair Russia's founding organizations. Retirement under the Soviet Union came with a good pension, free health care, and other state benefits. With the economic turmoil after perestroika most of these benefits vanished and today most pensioners live in poverty. They are also nostalgic for the USSR.

A second reason is that Fair Russia hopes to merge with more leftist political parties in the future and many of these are also nostalgic for the USSR for their own reasons. Sergei Mironov, the leader of Fair Russia, stated in 2008 that he sees a two-party system developing in Russia, with United Russia representing the right of the political spectrum and his party representing the left. To do this, Fair Russia would have to additionally absorb the KPRF, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which is the successor party to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Mironov publically proposed a merger with the KPRF in May, 2007 at the first session of a new organization christened "The Union of Supporters of Fair Russia," whose acronym the same the acronym for the USSR in Russian. In his proposal, Mironov stated that the two parties have "much more in common than they have differences" and together could potentially push the current party of power, United Russia, to second place in Russian politics.

Sergei Mironov meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev
Fair Russia's official logo, with its subtitle of "Motherland, Pensioners, Life" at the botom.
 
  
As many as several thousand members from one of the youth groups connected with KPRF did eventually shift their allegiance to Fair Russia. However, the KPRF as a whole, which is far more powerful than Fair Russia, immediately rejected the offer. Its leader Gennady Zyuganov stated tersely that "nothing will come of that" and a member of its Central Committee stated more colorfully that "the most (Fair Russia) can do is bang its forehead against our armor."

In April 2008, Fair Russia amended its party rules to make mergers easier, indicating that still has hopes of absorbing more of Russia's leftist political forces. To do so, its platform also attempts to tackle most issues of concern to leftist parties, often arguing for them by saying that they are of concern to leftist parties worldwide. Furthermore, to fund their wide range of increased social programs ranging from education, to unemployment benefits, to support for the arts, Fair Russia also proposes some of the most specific tax reforms (and increases) of any political platform.

Fair Russia has been slow in its growth, however, and although they claim more than three times the membership of the KPRF, they consistently place well behind the KPRF in the polls, possibly because they are a party that is often seen as not having a clear, independent identity. More on this issue will be discussed in the next installment.

<<<Back to Part 1 

КУРС НА КАРДИНАЛЬНОЕ
ОБНОВЛЕНИЕ СТРАНЫ
A COURSE FOR THE ESSENTIAL REBIRTH OF THE NATION 
Справедливость, свобода, солидарность, социальная безопасность, равенство прав и возможностей - это базовые ценности современного социалистического мировоззрения.Justice, freedom, solidarity, social security, and equal rights and opportunities - these are the basic values of modern socialist ideology.
Партия выбирает новую - социалистическую - перспективу. Высшая ценность Нового социализма XXI века — человеческая личность. Приоритет практических действий партии — развитие личности и реализация всех ее возможностей, способностей и талантов. Гарантией такого развития может быть только сплоченное социалистическое общество.Our party choses a new socialist perspective. For the New Socialism of the 21st century, the individual human is the central value. The priority for our party's pragmatic operations is to develop the individual and realize his/her potential as well as abilities and talents. Only a cohesive socialist society can guarantee such development.
Мы не хотим возвращаться в прошлое к советскому бюрократическому социализму. Мы смотрим вперед, а не назад. Новый социализм - это проект будущего России, согласующийся как с общемировыми тенденциями, так и с духовной традицией народа - прочной основой общенационального согласия на пути в будущее.We do not want to return to the past of Soviet bureaucratic socialism. We look forward, not backward. New Socialism is a plan for the future of Russia, consistant with both universal tendencies [1] and with the spiritual [2] tradition of the people, built on a foundation of nationwide consent on that course to the future.
Партия уверена в том, что социализм станет долговременным выбором российского общества, позволит стране преодолеть синдром «догоняющей модернизации» с ее постоянным пренебрежением к человеку и обеспечит выход на самостоятельный, эффективный путь развития.

The party is confident that socialism will become the lasting choice of Russian society. Socialism will allow the country to overcome the syndrome of "catching up with modernization" [3] with its constant neglect of the individual.[4] It will provide an outlet for an independent, effective path of development.[5]

Социалистические идеи прочно закрепились в системе духовных и нравственных ценностей народов России. Мы видим свою задачу в том, чтобы, учитывая исторический опыт страны, придать новый смысл именно российской социалистической идее, чтобы она стала созвучной задачам XXI века.Socialist ideas were strongly integrated with the spiritual and moral values of the Russian people. We understand our task to be as follows: to give new meaning to the Russian socialist idea so that it may address 21st century concerns while taking into account the historical experience of the country,
Новый социализм - это перспективная социально-экономическая модель информационного общества, общества знаний, в котором образование становится базовым условием развития человека.New Socialism is a promising socioeconomic model for an information society, a knowledge-based society in which education will be the fundamental means by which the individual is developed.
Мы выдвигаем в качестве стратегической цели - достижение интеллектуального, культурного, а затем и экономического лидерства страны. В этом мы видим гарантию благополучия, самодостаточности и безопасности нашего народа.We are moving forward towards strategic goals: to secure the intellectual, cultural, and then economic leadership of the country. In this, we see a guarantee of the prosperity, self-sufficiency and security of our people.
Новый социализм - это антитеза варварскому олигархическому капитализму, той модели глобализации, которая делит мировое экономическое пространство на богатеющий центр и прозябающую периферию.New Socialism is the antithesis of barbarous, oligarchic capitalism, that model of globalization which divides the world economy into a wealthy center and wretched periphery.
Новый социализм - это кардинальный путь решения проблем человека. Что происходит с человеком - вот главный критерий, по которому история оценивает тот или иной социально-экономический уклад.New Socialism is the principle method to solving the problems of the individual. History judges an economic system based principally on what happens to the individual.
В основе Нового социализма - высшие достижения культуры. Социалистическая идея неразрывно связана с вековым стремлением людей к гармоничному мироустройству, к достойной и осмысленной жизни.New Socialism is based on making greater cultural achievements. The socialist idea is inseparably linked with the age-long aspiration for a harmonious world order and a worthy and meaningful life.
Новый социализм не ликвидирует рынок, а перераспределяет власть над рынком - от олигархии к гражданскому обществу и государству - и тем самым устраняет вопиющие деформации рыночных отношений.New Socialism does not eliminate the market, but redistributes power over the market from the oligarchy to civil society and the state and thereby eliminates the flagrant biases in market relations.
Новый социализм - это разнообразие форм собственности, их эффективное взаимодействие. Любые ее формы, если они конкурентоспособны, имеют право на существование.New Socialism means variety in types of ownership as well as their effective interaction. Any forms that are competitive have the right to exist.
Новый социализм - это бережное отношение к окружающей среде. Во всем мире именно левые партии возвели защиту природы в ранг национальной политики.New Socialism is conscientious of the environment. All over the world, it has been the left-wing parties that have raised environmental protection to the level of national politics.
Новый социализм - это справедливость в распределении того, что создано обществом. Это умелое управление неравенством, сокращение разрыва между богатыми и бедными.New Socialism is fair in distributing that which has been created by society. This skillful management of inequality reduces the division between rich and poor.
Россия имеет свои неоспоримые конкурентные преимущества. Мы должны работать на опережение  с четким пониманием своих национальных интересов и способностью их защитить.Russia has indisputable competitive advantages. We must work with an eye to the future, with a clear understanding of our national interests and the ability to protect them.
НАШИ ЦЕЛИ, ЗАДАЧИ И ПРИОРИТЕТЫ
В СОЦИАЛЬНОЙ СФЕРЕ
OUR PURPOSES, TASKS, AND PRIORITIES IN THE SOCIAL SPHERE
 ЧЕЛОВЕКTHE INDIVIDUAL
Высшая цель политики партии - жизнь человека. В защите человека,
в сбережении населения страны мы видим свою ответственность перед нынешним и будущими поколениями граждан России.
Our party policy is focused on the life of the individual as its main concern. We see it as our responsibility to the present and future generations of Russian citizens to protect the individual and safeguard the country's population.
Имущественное и социальное расслоение в российском обществе достигло колоссальных размеров. Более 20 миллионов человек живут за чертой бедно-сти. Соотношение зарплат 10% самых высокооплачиваемых работников к 10% самых низкооплачиваемых достигает 25 раз, а доходы 10% самых богатых жителей страны превышают доходы самых бедных в 40-45 раз. На долю 15% обогатившихся в ходе реформ 1990-х годов приходится порядка 85% всех сбережений, 57% денежных доходов, 92% доходов от собственности.

The gap between the social and economic strata of the country has become enormously large. More than 20 million people live below the poverty line. [6] Salaries earned by the top 10% of wage earners now amount to 25 times more than those earned by the bottom 10%. Overall incomes of the top 10% of the county's richest inhabitants exceed the incomes earned of the poorest 10% by 40-50 times. The 15% of the population that were enriched during the reforms of the 1990s now hold approximately 85% of all savings, earn 57% of all cash income, and 92% of all income eared from property.

В системе социального страхования, в образовании, здравоохранении, жилищно-коммунальном хозяйстве царит несправедливость: при решении жилищного вопроса, безработице, болезнях, старости начинается хождение по мукам.Injustice reigns in the social security system, in education, in public health services, in housing, and in communal services. To resolve issues of housing, unemployment, sickness, or old age, one must walk a road of sorrows.
Мы уверены - у Российского государства есть все, чтобы обеспечить благополучие своих граждан, улучшить их жизнь и придать их деятельности творческий, созидательный смысл.We are certain that the Russian state has everything necessary to provide for the well-being of its citizens, to improve their lives, and to give creative and constructive meaning to daily life. [7]
Для этого потребуется создать новую систему государственных и общественных институтов, решающих проблемы человека на основе принципов справедливости, а также законодательно установить источники социальных гарантий и финансовые инструменты доведения их до человека.For this purpose, a new system of state and public institutions must be created to solve the problems of the individual on the basis of principles of fairness. Social guarantees and the financial instruments to bring these guarantees to the individual must be legislatively established.
Мы приложим все силы для того, чтобы уровень и качество жизни народа был соразмерен с величиной природных, интеллектуальных и духовных богатств страны.We will do our utmost to ensure that the standard and quality of life is proportional to the size of the natural resources and the intellectual and spiritual riches of our country.
Какие бы задачи ни стояли сегодня перед страной, никто не вправе требовать от людей в очередной раз «затягивать пояса». Whatever problems stand before the country today, nobody has the right to demand that the people once again "tighten their belts."
Партия будет настаивать на неукоснительном соблюдении всех обязательств государства в сферах оплаты труда и занятости, образования, науки и культуры, здравоохранения, защиты пенсионеров, ветеранов и инвалидов, жилищно-коммунального хозяйства.Our party will insist that all state obligations are met in the spheres of wage payments, [8] employment, education, science and culture, public health services, protection of pensioners, veterans and invalids, and housing and communal services.
Партия требует ратификации Европейской социальной хартии, провозглашающей повышение уровня жизни и социальное благополучие граждан главной задачей современных государств и содержащей наиболее полный перечень социальных прав человека. Этот документ поддержан всеми социалистическими и социал-демократическими партиями Европы.The party demands that the European Social Charter be ratified. This charter proclaims that the primary task of modern states is to increase the standard of living and social well-being of its citizens. It contains the most comprehensive list of social human rights and is supported by all socialist and social-democratic parties in Europe. [9]
Для формирования финансовых источников социальной политики государства, преодоления пропасти между богатыми и бедными, мы предлагаем:To form the financial sources for the state's social policy and overcome the precipice between rich and poor, we propose: 
-      Радикально изменить систему подоходного налога - заменить «плоскую шкалу» с налоговой ставкой 13% на четырехступенчатую, прогрессивную шкалу.- Radically changing the income tax system by replacing the "flat tax" of 13% with a four-level, ascending tax scale.
-      Установить трехчастное изъятие природной ренты: 1) через усовершенствованный налог на добычу полезных ископаемых; 2) через оптимизированную и гибкую экспортную пошлину; 3) через ежемесячные лицензионные платежи за месторождение.

- Allowing natural resource royalities to be paid in three parts: 1) through an optimized Mining Extraction Tax; [10] 2) through flexible and optimal export duties; 3) through monthly licensing fees on deposits.

-      Ввести налог на роскошь: приобретаемые предметы роскоши должны облагаться налогом с дифференцированной ставкой от 1 до 5% в зависимости от стоимости приобретения.- Introducing a luxury tax with a graduated rate of 1 to 5% depending on the cost of purchase.
В результате перераспределения доходов при помощи налогов разница доходов между богатыми и бедными снизится по меньшей мере в 3,5 раза.Redistributing income through taxes will result in reducing the income gap between the rich and poor by at least sixty-six percent of its current level.[11]
Партия требует выполнения в полном объеме обязательств государства по восстановлению сбережений граждан, утраченных в 1992 году, которые признаны внутренним государственным долгом Российской Федерации. В том числе путем перевода части долга в государственные ценные бумаги, приносящие гарантированный доход.Our party demands that the state completely fullfil its obligations in restorating the savings Russian citizens lost in 1992. These are recognized by Russia's internal public debt.[12] This should include a transfer of part of the debt into state securities which will ensure income to thier holders.
Наиболее важной экономической и социальной задачей мы считаем повышение оплаты труда.We believe that raising salaries is the most important economic and social task. [13]
Сегодня труд российского гражданина является одним из самых дешевых в мире, а его эксплуатация служит источником огромных сверхприбылей. В России сохраняется такое явление, как работающие бедные. Минимальный размер оплаты труда - позор для страны. Профсоюзы не выполняют свою роль в регулировании трудовых отношений. Большинство рабочих мест не соответствует нормам условий труда.Today, the labor of the Russian citizen is one of the cheapest in the world. The exploitation of this labor is a source of vast surplus profits. In Russia, the phenomenon of the working poor remains. The minimum wage is a disgrace for the country. Trade unions do not perform their role in the regulation of labor relations. The majority of workplaces do not satisfy working condition regulations.
Каждый человек, зарабатывающий на жизнь своим трудом, имеет право на достойное вознаграждение и социальную защиту. Не должно быть заработных плат, на которые нельзя жить, допускающих обнищание человека.Each individual, who earns a living by his labor, has the right to respectable compensation and social protection. There should be no wage on which a person can't live or which keeps a person in poverty.
Наша цель - закрепить реальные права на достойно оплачиваемый труд и занятость в Трудовом кодексе и других законах, относящихся к социальной сфере. Поднять уровень оплаты труда в три раза: увеличить долю заработной платы в ВВП с нынешних 22 до 60%.Our goal is to ensure the right to decently paid work and employment in the Labor Code and other social legislation.[12] To increase salaries by 300%, we must increase the share of GDP generated from wages from 22% to 60%.
Основой всех расчетов заработной платы должен быть социальный стандарт потребления, включающий расходы не только на питание и предметы первой необходимости, но и на содержание жилья, образование, культуру, лечение и отдых.The basis of all wage calculation should be a social consumption basket that includes not only food and essential expenses but also housing, education, culture, medication, and leisure.
Партия считает необходимым:Our party considers it necessary:
-      Установить нижний предел заработной платы исходя из величины социального стандарта потребления как минимальную почасовую ставку с тремя видами повышающих коэффициентов: региональным, отраслевым, квалификационным.- To establish a minimum wage based on this raised social consumption basket with three coefficients considered: regional, professional, and qualification.
-      Повысить оплату труда бюджетникам (врачам, учителям, ученым, работникам культуры), ликвидировать разрыв в оплате труда и обеспечении социальными гарантиями между ними и госчиновниками.- To increase the wages of state employees (doctors, teachers, scientists, and cultural workers) in order to eliminate the wage gap and guarantee social safeguards between them and state officials.
-      Ужесточить ответственность работодателей за задержки выплаты заработной платы, за прием на работу без соблюдения требований трудового законодательства, без официального оформления трудовых отношений, без уплаты единого социального налога.- To toughen employer liability for delays in wage payments, for hiring without observing the requirements of the Labor Code, for employing workers without a contract, and for evading the Unified Social Tax.
-      Регулярно проводить индексацию всех денежных выплат с опережением по отношению к темпам инфляции.- To regularly readjust all monetary payments according to inflation.
-      Создать полноценный механизм социального партнерства на рынке труда, основанный на трехсторонних переговорах профсоюзов, работодателя и государственных органов по труду.- To create a valuable social partnership in the labor market based on tripartite negotiations between trade unions, employers, and government labor agencies.
Обеспечить соблюдение закона при заключении трудовых договоров.- To ensure that the law is observed when labor contracts are concluded.[13]
Важнейшим правом человека мы считаем его право на полную занятость при условии соответствующего вознаграждения. Безработица угрожает социальной стабильности и приводит к бессмысленной растрате наиболее ценных человеческих ресурсов. Государство обязано активно содействовать занятости, а не пассивно выплачивать пособия жертвам собственной экономической несостоятельности.We believe that the right to full employment, properly compensated, is a key human right. Unemployment threatens social stability and leads to senseless waste of our most valuable human resources. The state is obliged to actively promote employment instead of passively paying benefits to the victims of the state's own economic inconsistency.
Партия требует:The party demands:
-      Повысить долю расходов на программы занятости до 1% ВВП.- that state expenses for employment programs be increased to 1% of GDP.
-      Восстановить Федеральный фонд занятости.- that the Federal Employment Fund be reestablished.
-      Установить пособие по безработице не ниже социального стандарта потребления.- that unemployment benefits be set a level not below the social standard of consumption.
-      Принять новые стандарты охраны и условий труда, в том числе в области экологической безопасности. Разработать объективную систему контроля и мониторинга уровней профессиональных рисков.- that new standards of labor protection and working conditions be adopted, including in the field of ecological safety. We must develop an objective system to control and monitor the risk levels various professions face.

-      Для повышения экономической заинтересованности работодателей в улучшении условий труда считать уменьшение травматизма и профессиональных заболеваний критерием при распределении государственных заказов, утверждении различных инвестиционных программ и программ финансовой поддержки.

- that conditions be created where it is more in the employer's economic interests to improve working conditions and reduce injuries and occupational diseases. This would be done through state law, through the support of investment programs, and through financial support.

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Footnotes:

[1] The Russian original uses the word "тенденция," which can mean both "tendency" and "trend." It is perhaps most often used to refer to large scale movements such as in "economic trends" or "fashion trends." Here, it is likely a reference to the Marxist idea that the history of civilizations follow a set evolutionary path that eventually leads them to socialism and later to communism.

[2] The Russian original uses the word "духовной," which means "spiritual" but also is used with wider meanings including "moral" and even "conscious." We can see a connection here, for example, to the well-known concept of the "Russian Soul" that refers to a sort of national character of the Russians.   

[3] "Catching up with modernization" or "Догоняющая модернизация" is a term commonly used in Russia by both those in power and the opposition. It refers to the process of falling behind and then attempting to catch up with modernization - usually at enormous human cost. The Soviet's collectivization efforts, for instance, attempted to bring modern, mechanized farming to Russia for the first time on a national scale. However, it also caused famine and social chaos in the process. Russia's switch to capitalism in the early 1990s was another example of a radical shift made in the name of innovation that caused widespread suffering at the time.

[4] We have translated "пренебрежение к человеку" as "neglect of the individual," but it could also be translated more strongly as "scorn for the individual." See footnote three.

[5] How to deal with "catching up with modernization" (see footnote three) is a debated issue in Russia. Most of those in power agree with the assertion made here that Russia's development should be "самостоятельный," as stated by Fair Russia, which is a word that means "independent" but also "self-contained." In other words, the word implies that Russia needs to figure out a "third path" (another commonly used term) for itself, something that takes into consideration all realities in Russia and which is an original Russian invention. Many of those outside of power believe that Russia should adopt wholesale western modals of governance and economy and strive for maximum integration into world political and economic systems.

[6] This is approximately 15% of the Russian population and is in line with figures released by the Russian government for 2007.

[7] The original Russian uses the word "деятельность" which is often used to refer to actions in general, but also more specifically to professional activity and the activities of businesses.

[8] The Russian government is not only responsible for paying its own employees, but also in guaranteeing that wage payments to all workers are made and made on time. This has been a major problem in Russia since the fall of communism. As of May, 2009, Russians were owed 282 million dollars in back wages and in several towns, where plants were shut down and workers owed several months of back pay, workers took to blocking federal highways in protest of the situation and the government's failure to ensure that employers complied with their contractual obligations to workers.

[9] The European Social Charter has been the source of some controvery in Russia as it lists requirements for sex education and the protection of rights of homosexuals, for instance, that are strongly opposed by conservative elements of Russian society, including the powerful Russian Orthodox Chruch.

[10] The Russian term "налог на добычу полезных ископаемых" is usually rendered as "Mining Extraction Tax." However, the Russian "полезные ископаемые" is a specialized term that refers to subsoil resources, which include oil and gas, the extraction of which is not often refered to as "mining." Oil and gas extraction also, then, fall under this law. While Russia is famous for it's oil, it also has large deposits of iron, coal, diamonds, gold, and other resources. These deposits have long been at the center of Russia's budget plans.

[11] "Снизится в 3,5 раза" literally means "to reduce by 3.5 times." This construction does not have a direct equivalent in English, but basically can be understood that if something rose 3.5 times, and then fell by 3.5 times, it would be back at its original position.

[12] Russia recognized the savings lost due to the economic crisis of the early nineties as part of its internal debt liability. However, payments on this debt have been partial and slow in being issued. The state has prioritized issuing payments to the very elderly, which some say has actually made things harder as, due to the slowness of the processing, has meant recipients are frequently dead before the payment is prepared.

[13] Russia's average wage doubled from 2006-2008. See http://www.acg.ru/english/news2.phtml?m=1602 for more information.

[13] Russia's labor legislation is actually written in favor of the employee in most cases, but is poorly enforced. For example, in April, 2008, according to official statistics, 2.8 percent of the population earned below Russia's "embarrassing" minimum wage.

[14] This refers to not only making sure that labor contracts follow the law, but also that they are signed in the first place. Without a labor contract, one cannot be legally employed in Russia and fighting, for example, non-payment of wages is extremely difficult.

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