The congress’s delegates adopted the founding documents, including the Russian Popular Front Charter, which enshrines the movement’s post-partisan nature. The delegates elected Mr Putin to be the movement’s leader.
Speech at founding congress of Russian Popular Front
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
I welcome everyone here and also send my greetings to millions of our supporters and like-minded people in every corner and every region of our great country. We are all here because we love our country, believe in it and want to work for the common good.
We share values that transcend political preferences, group interests, and personal ambitions of course. These are the values of freedom and justice, human rights and dignity, civil solidarity and love for one’s country. We have behind us all the centuries of Russia’s history, the courage and heroism of our forebears, their achievements, labour and victories, our multi-ethnic Russian culture, the Great Victory of 1945, and the conquest of space. In all times and ages, the people have been the main actor in history, deciding Russia’s fate, and rising to our country’s defence, all standing together as a single community when needed.
Russia today is going through a difficult stage in its development. We are aware of the scale of the task and the seriousness and complexity of the problems that face our country and affect practically all of us. We all want Russia to be a leader, an economic leader, a leader in science and technological progress, an integration centre with its cultural attraction, and a magnet drawing in other countries and peoples.
We all want to see well-kept towns and villages, clean yards and streets, good medical centres, hospitals, kindergartens, schools and universities. We want our people to have the best environment for doing business, working and earning decent money. We want there to be more of us. We want stronger and steadier demographic growth. We want to look after our natural wealth and pass on to our descendants the monuments of our history and culture. We want to rid our country of corruption and injustice, make the truth triumph and build trust between the public and the state authorities, between the people and their government. We want to live in a strong, happy and prosperous country of which we can be proud. We can build this Russia only by working together, working hard, each in our own field.
This Russia we are talking about, this Russia you are calling for, needs your personal contribution and sincere involvement in the common development effort, not tomorrow, but right now. This is why we are establishing – or rather, you have already established – the Russian Popular Front as a public movement and a force to carry out our plans and our citizens’ will, to unite the nation.
The Russian Popular Front must become a truly broad-based public movement that gives all citizens the chance to set their goals and aims, reach these goals, take action on issues that often get bogged down in the bureaucratic swamp, and directly propose ideas that could go on to become laws and government decisions. We need to give people the opportunity to use existing instruments for influencing public processes, look for new instruments, and put them to skilful use. We need to promote new people, new candidates, take part in elections and put forward the right kind of people for them. Most important of all, this work must be real and alive, directly linked with people, their interests, and resolving their problems.
The Russian Popular Front’s goal is to give everyone the chance to take part in building our great country, our great Russia. We are ready to work with everyone who shares our ideas and values and is ready to share the common responsibility for our country’s historical success.
We will support civil society initiatives and volunteer work, business and social projects, facilitate local government development, and open the road to new public initiatives and new leaders. The Russian people is the real master of this land, and their interests are Russia’s national interests.
It is our people’s right to demand and ensure that the authorities at every level, from the president to village heads, know and understand what the people want.
Let me say again that I very much want the people to be able to demand that all officials, from the president to the head of the smallest village, fulfil their obligations, and that the authorities work openly, honestly and effectively. It is the people’s right to demand and achieve better conditions for life, creative pursuit, work, and freedom for self-realisation, because Russia’s success is made up of the success of each one of us individually.
These are big goals we have set. We are working towards these goals at a time of global change when the world is going through ever more conflicts and upheavals, when the struggle for the very right to be an independent and sovereign country has become more intense, and when entire nations and peoples are torn from their roots and traditions and, sadly, sometimes lose their identity and uniqueness. How we meet these challenges and the results we achieve today will shape the future for our children and for Russia tomorrow.
We are a great nation and our future is in our hands alone. Only we can decide what we can and should do. Only we can decide how Russia should continue to grow and develop. I believe in our success and our victory.
We are the people’s front. We are for Russia.
Vladimir Putin: I thank you very much for your support, confidence, and kind words. I thank you for your support during the election campaign a year ago, and for today’s event.
Today, we have accomplished what many of you here spoke about and proposed earlier, namely, that this Russian Popular Front should not be just an election campaign vehicle but should become a permanent institution. Friends and colleagues, I hope that despite the different views and approaches towards resolving the problems our country and people face, the Russian Popular Front will become a genuinely national platform that brings together people of at first glance seemingly opposing views to discuss our problems and find acceptable solutions. Only this way, not through confrontation, but by joining forces in the search for most acceptable development options, can we find the best way forward and reach the best results in our development. I am sure that we are on the right road. We are for Russia.
I see a wide range of people here today, some already grey-haired with age, others still very young, some with long experience behind them, others only just starting out in life. But your faces are all bright, brave, and full of determination, and that is really marvellous to see. I wish you all success. Thank you.