Right Cause (political party in Russia)
|Founded||18 February 2009|
|Colours||Orange and grey|
|Seats in the State Duma|
|Seats in the Regional Parliaments|
|Politics of Russia
Right Cause (Russian: Правое дело, Pravoye delo, pronounced [ˈpravəjə ˈdʲeɫə]) is a political party in Russia with representatives in several local legislatures. Founded on 18 February 2009 as a merger of the Union of Rightist Forces (partly, other members joined to Solidarnost), Civilian Power and the Democratic Party of Russia, the party's main policy stances are liberal free market economy, democracy and protecting the rights of the middle class. Although widely regarded as a pro-Kremlin party, it has already found itself in opposition to the presidential administration on several occasions.
Right Cause was founded in November 2008 as a merger of three parties: Union of Rightist Forces (SPS), Civilian Power and Democratic Party of Russia. The SPS and Civilian Power were both regarded as liberal parties, supporting free market reforms, protection of private property and a decentralized federal government. The Democratic Party also supported liberal values, but its programme was more conservative and nationalistic.
By 2008, the three parties were all in a state of decline. While SPS had achieved 8.7% of votes in the 1999 Duma elections, in the 2007 it only received 0.96%. Support for the Democratic Party (0.13%) and Civilian Power (1.05%) in the 2007 election was also low. The SPS—highly critical of Vladimir Putin and United Russia in its 2007 election campaign—was losing voters because Putin had adopted many of the market reforms championed by SPS, and also because companies started to withdraw their financial support from the party. With falling support and votes being lost to United Russia, the three parties, among others, considered mergers in order to survive. The decision to initiate the merger was made in October 2008, and in November the unification was completed. The new party, called Right Cause, was officially registered in 18 February 2009. The party's creation was supported by the presidential administration of Dmitry Medvedev.
The merger was opposed by SPS founding member and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who believed the new party would not offer true political opposition, while another SPS founding member Anatoly Chubais, widely considered architect of Russia's privatization programme, voiced strong support for the merger, saying that "a political party is one that participates in elections with chances to win."
Despite allegations the party is too close to the Kremlin be a real opposition party, Right Cause has already been involved in controversy, finding itself in opposition to the authorities. In January 2009, an arrest warrant was issued for Yevgeny Chichvarkin, founder of leading mobile phone retailer Yevroset and anticipated head of Right Cause for the Moscow region. The warrant was issued in absentia, as Chichvarkin is currently in London, England. Right Cause set up a website, Chichvarkin.info[dead link], to proclaim its support for Chichvarkin, and according to The Moscow Times, the party suggests that the legal action is "an example of the authorities unjustly targeting business."
The first major election where Right Cause took part was the Moscow City Duma elections in October 2009. The party was predicted to receive between 5-8% of the vote, but only managed to register one candidate, who was soundly defeated. Many commentators that assumed that this was part of an effort by city officials of Yury Luzhkov's administration to restrict the chances of opposition parties, many Right Cause members blamed the party leadership for not properly organizing the registration and campaign.
The party currently has representation in several city legislatures, but lacks representation on the regional level. According to a survey conducted in March 2008, less than 2% of the Russian population are loyalists of the party. In April 2011, support for Right Cause was 2.9%. The party's performance has been a disappointment, with analysts attributing its low popularity to a lack of a charismatic leader.
In May, 2011, the billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov announced a plan to join the leadership of the Right Cause. Prohkorov has promised to make Right Cause Russia's second largest party on a pro-business platform that will "totally transform" the country. In a television interview, Prokhorov said: "we have got to return to a 14 percent tax, leave small business alone, simplify paperwork and let small business work in peace ... I think we won't recognize the country in five to 10 years." On June 25, 2011, Prokhorov was elected to the leadership of the party at the Right Cause Party Congress of 2011. At the acceptance ceremony, Prokhorov officially criticized the present ruling tandem of Medvedev-Putin, the structure of Russia, and vowed to bring Russia back to a stable development course. In September, 2011, Prokhorov said he had quit Right Cause, "condemning it as a 'puppet Kremlin party' micromanaged by a 'puppet master' in the president’s office ..., Vladislav Y. Surkov," according to a report in The New York Times.
On 23 September 2011, the International Democrat Union suspended the associate member status of the Right Cause, lamenting that the party was under "direct control" of the Kremlin and all "liberal voices" had been silenced. Instead, the re-founded Union of Rightist Forces was made a new associate member.
Right Cause positions itself as a pro-business party in favour of free market reforms, privatization, and protecting the interests of the middle class. The party supports "a broad application of the elective principle", including direct elections of mayors and a gradual return to elections of regional governors. It also supports lowering the threshold for election into the State Duma from 7% to 5%. The party platform calls for more control to the legislative branch over the executive branch, openness and transparency in the government, and freedom of information. In the economy, the party supports a model entitled "Capitalism for All", which emphasizes developing domestic demand as the main prerequisite for economic diversification, modernization, and the growth of domestic production. The main stimulus for the economy should not be cheap labour, but high income levels.
According to a 2008 research by Colton, Hale and McFaul, the main policy stances associated with the party by the electorate are liberal economy, pro-Westernism and democracy.
- Georgiy Bovt Journalist
- Leonid Gozman Former Leader of «Union of Rightist Forces»
- Boris Titov Leader of the civic organisation «Delovaya Rossiya»  (until 24 December 2009).
- Moscow - Igor Trunov
- Moscow Region - Boris Nadezhdin
- Primorskiy Krai - Nikolai Morozov
- Amur Region - Sergei Kukharenko
- Mordovia Republic - Stanislav Aranovich
- Tyumen Region - Alexander Bezdelov
- Nizhegorodskaya Oblast — Denis Labuza
- Wilson, Josh; Decker, Erin (2010-04-09). "Right Cause Searches for Right Path, Part I". The School of Russian and Asian Studies.
- Hale, Henry E. (2010). "Russia's political parties and their substitutes". In White, Stephen. Developments in Russian Politics 7. New York: Palgrave McMillan. ISBN 978-0-230-22449-0.
- Евгений Чичваркин collection of pressmaterials by Lenta.ru (Russian)
- Wilson, Josh; Decker, Erin (2010-04-09). "Right Cause Searches for Right Path, Part III". The School of Russian and Asian Studies.
- "Oligarch Looks to Revamp Party". The Moscow Times. 2011-05-17.
- Natalya Krainova (23 May 2011). "Prokhorov Promises 2nd Place in Duma". The Moscow Times.
- O'Connor, Clare (16 May 2011), "Billionaire Nets Owner Prokhorov To Enter Politics…And Take On Putin?", Forbes, retrieved 13 November 2011
- Kramer, Andrew E.; Barry, Ellen (15 September 2011), "Amid Political Rancor, Russian Party Leader Quits", The New York Times, retrieved 13 November 2011
- IDU suspends Right Cause, Russia as Associate Member, International Democrat Union, www.idu.org, 23 Sebtember 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011
- IDU elect John Howard Leader, welcomes ten new members, International Democrat Union, www.idu.org, 23 Sebtember 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011
- Wilson, Josh; Decker, Erin (2010-04-09). "Right Cause Searches for Right Path, Part II". The School of Russian and Asian Studies.
- СПС ушёл на «правое дело» // События на сайте Полит.ру. (Russian) — 17.11.2008.
- "С чистого листа". Частный Корреспондент. chaskor.ru. 16 ноября 2008.
- Political Program Right Cause (Russian)
- Party's official site
- Party supporters' site
- Political Program Translation (English)
- Acceptance Speech of Party Leader Mikhail Prokhorov (English)