The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As a citizen of Russia and as a permanent resident of the United States of America, I thank you for your continuous efforts to repair relationships with my Mother Country. Russia is at a pivotal moment in its history now, which will determine whether it develops as a democracy truly integrated into the global world system or as an isolated dictatorship behaving as a threat to this system. Unfortunately, the recent parliamentary and, especially, presidential elections appear to be steps in the wrong directions for Russia.
Mr. Putin, to be inaugurated as the President of Russia on May 7th, has committed multiple violations of the law during his recent presidential campaign, which should have disqualified him as a candidate for the president. Among these violations were his nomination by a party in which he was not a member, his refusal to go on vacation from the public office during the election campaign, and his widespread use of administrative resources in his campaign.
In addition, the elections themselves have been unfair, and their results have been widely and openly manipulated. Some of the most blatant fabrications apparently occurred in Chechnya, were official attendance was at statistically improbable 99.6 percent and 99.8 percent of votes were counted for Putin. Such “results” can only be regarded as a public insult to the memory of thousands of citizens of Russia who perished in Chechnya during the war started there by Mr. Putin in 1999.
The open disrespect for the rule of law demonstrated by Mr. Putin and by the current President Dmitry Medvedev in the last presidential and parliamentary elections has corrupted the whole electoral system in Russia and opened doors to massive fabrications of election results at regional levels. Blatant violations of election procedures in Astrakhan led to the ongoing hunger protest by the opposition candidate Oleg Shein and his supporters, which is in its 27th day now. Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev should be held directly responsible for the health and life of these Russian citizens.
As the results of these and multiple other election violations, Mr. Putin cannot be regarded as a lawfully elected president of Russia. Instead, he should be brought to justice for breaking multiple laws and corrupting multiple democratic institutions in order to retain his power in Russia. Hence, I ask you to withheld Mr. Putin’s invitation to the 38th summit of the Group of Eight (G8) in Camp David on May 18-19, 2012 and to help to suspend the membership of Russia in this organization until new and fair parliamentary and presidential elections are held in Russia.
I hope that you will be able to make this politically difficult but vitally necessary decision and to insist on new and fair elections in Russia. The world is facing multiple economic, social, demographic and environmental challenges in the 21st century and the people of the world need Russia’s full participation in solving these challenges. The latter would only be possible if Russia develops as a true democracy.
Dr. Dennis Lavrov, Associate Professor at Iowa State University
Dennis Lavrov, Associate Professor,
Iowa State University
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