“Who is in favor of amending the statute?”Green sheets are going up. “Who against?” This is how the Russian ‘deputies’ can cast their vote. In a circle, the participants in the hall look at the chairman, who counts the votes.

Everything should suggest that a democratic process is underway here. A “session of Representatives” as can be read on plates on the table. In the palace of Jablonna – outside Warsaw – this weekend about fifty politicians of the Russian opposition gathered – in person and via a connection online. Their goal: to create a transitional parliament for a post-Putin Russia.

It is their first meeting, and the ambitions are great. This Parliament should be ready the day after a change of power in Russia, says initiator Ilya Ponomaryov. “For that, we want to pass a series of laws that will then come into force immediately. So that citizens know what to expect.”

Ponomaryov voted in 2014 as the only Duma member against the annexation of Crimea and now leads opposition from Ukraine. Russians ask him the question: if we don’t want Putin, who will? “We want to offer that alternative.”The first statutes show that the ambitions are inextricably linked with the war in Ukraine. It states that the representatives do not support the annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine.

More than fifty politicians who were active at regional or national level in Russia participated in the session. Participants who are still in Russia are also there, according to the organization, they participate anonymously online. But there is no question of a united opposition here in Poland.

For example, representatives of Alexei Navalny are not in the Hall, his team has announced that it will not join. Other participants who had registered no longer participate because they do not agree with how the initiative turns out.

Initiator Nina Belyaeva – a representative from the Voronezh region who had to flee because she spoke out against the war-withdrew and on the day of the meeting reached out to the organization that itself was supposed to be “anti-democratic and authoritarian.”

About the author: Louise Roth

Louise Roth is the youngest member of WeeklyNewsReview team. Despite the young age Louise is interested in serious topics. Her main interests and education is all about economics and politics. But in our team she is the most productive do-it-all member, so she has to write on a variety of topics.

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