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I Congratulate All on Number 100000. What’s Now?

I Congratulate All on Number 100000. What’s Now?
Ilya Ponomarev 11.07.2013

Today the site of the Russian Public Initiative (RPI) for the first time reached treasured figure – hundred thousand signatures. Hundred thousand people supported Alexey Navalny's appeal forbidding officials to buy cars which are more expensive than 1,5 million rubles. Precedent of the national appeal to the Open government despite not very convenient procedure is created.

What's next? In fact nothing!

I promised that I won't express my opinion concerning this campaign while signature collection would take place so that not to do much harm to the ally. Now everything’s done and it is possible to analyze the result.

First of all, all hundred thousand signers led by the author entered with fight a door whiсh has been opened long before. Federal law No. 94 "About Government Purchases" ceases to act on December, 31, 2013 and new law "About Federal Contract System" starts working since 2014. By the way, Lyubov Sobol participated in its preparation from "RosPil" and your faithful servant took active part in carrying out it through the Duma. Thus this law directly forbids purchase of any subjects "with excess consumer properties", speaking Russian – of luxury goods; not only expensive cars, but also gold toilet bowls and elite furniture sets at the expense of the state budget. Let's see how it will work, but now everything looks as if there’s no further need in additional restrictions. I think on this basis all initiative will die at the level of Open government. One more reason to troll "ignoring will of people" power on the Internet becomes the only result of the campaign besides some tens of thousands of new followers of Navalny. That’s too not bad, of course, but …

Secondly, let’s consider relevance of the chosen problem. What is the loss of the state budget from purchase of expensive cars? Even if each region will annually waste one million on such whims of big bosses, it is a question of 80 million a year. If it is a lot or a little? For a person – it’s a lot, really a lot. In country scales it is incomparable to losses from bad management of state corporations, to consequences of liberal reforms in the spheres of housing and communal services, education and health care, to effect from Russia's joining the World Trade Organization for agriculture. Not to mention the Olympic Games and summit of APEC. Whether we collect signatures against WTO? Or whether we try to forbid nickel production in the Voronezh region that threatens – besides all ecological troubles – with loss of several tens of thousands of profitable workplaces in agricultural seсtor of Blaсk Earth region? No, certainly. Alexey Navalny as Julia Latynina wrote in Live Journal considers this conflict the order of Norilsk Nickel in fight against UMMC.

Certainly, it’s very interesting and сlear to fight against limousines, than to deal with real problems of real economy. Especially when they concern combine operators who, as we know, don't write on vkontakte and are not online. It is possible to win this power only having headed such combine operators or Voronezh Cossacks, or workers – metallurgists dying during trade-union actions at above-mentioned Norilsk Nickel, or guest workers who worked on сonstruсtion sites of "Don Stroy" in Moscow. By the way, though all this "lumpen public" (using terminology of the Moscow liberals) is very conservative on views, it doesn't like LGBT and Pussy Riot, however the same Voronezh Cossacks made defender of the rights of all minority groups, my assistant Kostya Rubakhin honorary member of their army, paying no attention to that different karaulovs say he is gay and the American agent. People are able to understand who gets promoted using their problems and who participates in real fight and at the critical moment takes right side.

At last let’s look at the situation from the point of view of the political strategy. Well, all procedure was excellently fulfilled by Alexey Navalny's team. Let’s think at least about scandal with fraud of voices on the site of ROI advertized the action. The Internet community was delighted and shivered with hunting passion. Though how many people in the country will notice this action out of Network? In Moscow and St. Petersburg – percent 20, in other large cities - 10, other figures will be at zero level. You don't trust me – let's ask Levada-center.

Criticizing – I offer. When Alexey Anatolyevich agitated municipal deputies to gather signatures allowing him to become the candidate in Mayors of Moscow, he spoke a lot about their powers. This problem is super-challenging and first of all not for the capital where it is a question of redistribution of powers between justices and councils, but for real local government in the Russian regions. Starting from Moscow region. It has been plundered, local authorities aren't able to execute powers without money. Medvedev, leaving post of the president, promised to give to the "bottom", to municipal authorities 1 trillion rubles (not so much actually, but the first step is the hardest). Nothing’s been made; moreover, the Ministry of Finance threatens to take part of money away using taxation of incomes of physical persons to close hole done in the regional budgets by election pledges of Putin.

That’s quite a reason for collecting signatures. If certainly it’s a task to make something useful, not just to make noise on the Internet.

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