Russian Oppositionist Appeals to US Congress Caucus

Published Oct. 29 at 10:54 am

By Ilya Ponomarev

On Oct. 24, some 30 Democratic Members of the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus, a far-left faction of the Democratic Party, signed an open letter to fellow Democrat, President Joe Biden.

The letter drew attention to the risk of nuclear weapons deployment as being higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War. Highlighting the catastrophic possibilities of nuclear escalation and miscalculation, which would only increase the longer the war in Ukraine continues, the signatories expressed their support for President Biden’s goal of avoiding direct military conflict as an overriding national-security priority.

However, the letter goes on to urge President Biden to “make vigorous diplomatic efforts in support of a negotiated settlement and ceasefire,” and to “engage in direct talks with Russia.”

The letter received a sharp rebuke from leaders across the Democratic and Republican parties, and from Ukrainian leaders.

Below is my (tongue-and-cheek) open response, which suggests to the Progressive Caucus how to best end Putin’s war against Ukraine.

 Dear Congressional Progressive Caucus

Earlier this week, you took a lot of flak for a mistakenly released letter stating your views on how Russia’s war on Ukraine should end.

First of all, thank you for withdrawing your letter and clarifying your group’s intent.

I do want to encourage you to engage in direct talks with the Russian government; by that I mean engaging in direct talks with the new “parallel parliament” of Russia that is being formed and will meet for the first time as the First Congress of People’s Deputies of Russia, on Nov. 4-7 in Warsaw.

This “parallel parliament” is made up of delegates of elected Russian deputies who are all in exile because of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government. We are all elected deputies who opposed the 2014 annexation of Crimea and who now oppose the current invasion of Ukraine.

We are all committed to replacing Putin’s government with a new free, democratic government for Russia. So far, more than 60 delegates have already confirmed their presence.

Please come to Warsaw and meet with us on November 4-7, or perhaps arrange to join us virtually.

When we meet, we will explain to you our vision for the future of Russia and our simple two-part peace plan (below) that will result in a victory for both Russia and Ukraine. We can assure you that when it comes to peace between the two countries, we are open to negotiations on this plan. We are also committed to a fast, peaceful end to the invasion.

  • Victory for Ukraine: Complete control over all of Ukraine, including Crimea; Russian funding for the 21st century version of Marshall’s plan; trials for all war crimes; guarantees for future independence and security.
  • Victory for Russia: Putin is removed from office; an interim revolutionary government is installed with a mandate to write a new democratic constitution (if the Russian people so choose); new laws and a new judicial system are established; free and fair elections are held within 24 months.

Can we agree that this would be a satisfactory win for both the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia?

After all, while Ukraine was far from perfect as a nation before the Russian invasion, it was a fully functional, self-governing democracy. Can we say the same about Russia prior to Feb. 24, and even now?

Can we agree that the Ukrainian people have proven their willingness to fight for their country and their right to live as a free people? And can we agree that the Russian people should be entitled to the same right to live freely, as you enjoy in the U.S., should they be willing to fight for it?

I am not suggesting that it will be easy for the Russian people to remove Putin; nor am I suggesting that it will be easy for them to transform their country into a democracy. Indeed, it has not been easy for Ukraine to transition from the former Soviet Union to a democracy either. But they did it, which means that Russia can do it too.

But that won’t happen in Russia if it’s easier for the people to accept the status quo. And when Russian people accept the status quo, or we propose that the only way to end the war with Ukraine is through negotiations or appeasement, we continue to empower corrupt Russian politicians and continue to entrap the Russian people inside the existing broken system, rather than encouraging them to break free.

Getting rid of Putin and Putinism will be a formidable challenge. But it is not impossible.

That is why we are taking this dramatic first step in Warsaw from November 4-7, where I am hosting the First Congress of People’s Deputies of Russia. It is the same location where discussions began to inform the Polish Round Table Agreement, eventually leading to the end of the Cold War.

This is the first time this would happen in Russian history.

Below is a summary of the objectives of this First Congress:

  • Adoption of the Declaration on the Constitutional Principles of Free Russia after the overthrow of the Putin regime. This Declaration will become the foundation of the new Russian Constitution in the future;
  • Adoption of a list of priority decisions to be made by the post-Putin Russian government;
  • Adoption of a National Resistance Act defining the procedure for the self-organization and legal framework of the resistance movement in Russia and abroad.

Yes, overthrowing Putin and his government, and installing a new democratic government will be hard. But any other outcome of this war will not only be a loss for Ukraine; it will be a loss for Russia, Russian people and the rest of the world.

I am part of the progressive left myself. In the Russian State Duma I served as the left-most member of parliament. And I was always convinced that the position of the left should be about power to the people, the right of self-determination, no oppression, and human rights above everything, irrespective of background, gender or race.

It always strikes me as a sorry time when U.S. progressives start talking about making concessions to Putin, framed as “pragmatism.” To my mind, such ideas deny the great and free nation of Ukraine those rights for the sake of the rotten appetites of a filthy corrupt dictator. To me it feels like betrayal of the most fundamental principles of the left. And no good intentions can justify a new age “Munich Betrayal,” as history has already proven.

Respected members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, I hope you can join us in person or remotely in Warsaw for this First Congress as honored guests. Your presence will signal exactly the message that your group clearly intends to send to your constituents, to the Ukrainian and Russian people, and to the rest of the world.

Yours in peace and democracy,

Ilya Ponomarev

Ilya Ponomarev is a former Russian Member of the Duma, and the only Member to vote against the annexation of Crimea in 2014 which forced him into exile. His new book is titled “Does Putin Have to Die?: The Story of How Russia Becomes a Democracy after Losing to Ukraine.”

12 comments

  1. “Yes, overthrowing Putin and his government, and installing a new democratic government will be hard.”

    It will be hard simply due to the fact that the majority of ruskies still are brainwashed morons and have no interest to free themselves from the slavery they exist in. They have no courage, no honor, no dignity and no strength to free themselves as the Ukrainian people did.

    “It always strikes me as a sorry time when U.S. progressives start talking about making concessions to Putin, framed as “pragmatism.”

    This attempt to pragmatism was based on fear. The fear of nuclear confrontation with mafia land. They are blinded by fear, to see that fear itself is one of putlerism’s foundation of power. The other being lies. Fear and lies is putlerism. Once you see this truth about today’s mafia land and Vlad, you are free to think more clearly.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I completely agree with all of this. I think that an article like this is a much better way to settle the war than the previous idiocy of American progressives. Unfortunately, if there’s anything I’ve learned about that side of the democrats, or even some republicans who roll over for them, it’s that progressives never seem to learn anything about what they’re doing wrong. It’s for this reason, that I feel like I can’t trust any leftist or progressive comes to a negotiation table.

      Some of them like nancy pelosi, seem just as stupid about things that reach beyond politics, like how much she was showing off her fancy $20,000 freezer full of gourmet ice cream, when the rest of us were starving because we couldn’t go to work and buy our food.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’d like to share this with my neighbors. They’re Russian-Americans, but are elderly, so they haven’t been able to learn English easily, like how a youth can. But I don’t think they approve of putin, when I asked them about the invasion, they seemed to get nervous around me. It might’ve been because some Americans expressed a strong anti-russian hatred. Some of this has even been misdirected towards Ukrainian-Americans who were thought to be supportive of putin and his russia. I had to make sure my neighbors knew I wasn’t attaching anything about them to putin, because sharing ethnicity is not the same as sharing ideological beliefs. It’s the personal connections that matter more.

    I hope that when I’ve moved my lady Liudmila in to living with me, she can help us understand them better, and the same for my neighbors.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Why “tongue in cheek?” It’s too serious a subject. But the idea is good. Acorns and trees come to mind.
    The prog left of the Dems contains some real arseholes , like AOC, ‘The Squad’, Bernie Sanders etc. Better send some Biden Dems too, plus some senior Repubs. Even a few Trump wing turds; they might learn something.
    I’m not a fan of Navalny, but am a huge admirer of his bravery. He’s a Russian nationalist and they almost always turn out to be fascists. He has said disgusting things in the past about Georgia and Crimea.
    However, one guy I do trust is Vladimir Kara-Murza and he seems to think that Navalny is ok now, having undergone a Damascene conversion.
    If anything tells you about the true nature of putler’s fascist regime, it’s the treatment of Mr Kara-Murza. Poisoned twice by putler goons, he survived. Both times an ingenious doctor saved his life and both doctors were subsequently murdered.
    Mr Kara-Murza was safe in the US, but opted to return to the shithole, which put him right back in the evil hands of the tiny poisoner.

    Liked by 3 people

      • The horseshoe of politics was first established with the Molotov-Von Ribbentrop pact of 1939. Far right/far left just being two sides of the same evil fascist coin.
        That pact still exists today in a different form. The far right and far left speak as one when it comes to putler. The far right support the little turd because they like his ideology. The far left offer their support because Marxists always support any entity that hates the US/UK axis and wants us dead.
        Izlamonaziism is violent, genocidal, rape and torture oriented and simultaneously both far right and far left, hence its affinity with with putlerism.

        Liked by 2 people

          • I hate the far left and far right equally. I have attacked the British far left consistently since 2014 for their support of putler. I noticed it for the first time in 2008, but then as now, the far right was bigger, more influential and more putler-orientated. But the UK far left was far more significant than in the US. At that time you had that communist antique Chomsky, but he’s not important.

            In Britain the far left, then leader of the opposition; JeremIRA CorbLenin, was full on putler as much as Trump, Carlson and Taylor-Greene are now. Corbyn’s evil sidekick Seumas Milne is a Stalinist who was pumping out putjer propaganda in 2014, but now he’s been pushed way back onto the sidelines. There is still the foul leftist George Galloway, but his profile has dropped almost off the radar. Right now, a bunch of communist trade union leaders have been exposed as putlerites, but I doubt if they have much influence over the public.

            The far right in Britain, led by Trump’s UK bagman Farage, is still quite significant, as Farage has a constant media presence. He works as hard as ever for putler, as does Peter Hitchens, who at university was a Trot, but these days is a member of the hard right putler faction.

            The far left in the US was much lower key. I remember asking you who in the Dems apart from Gabbard was an open putlerite? She has now left and joined the Trump wing of the GOP and may even be a presidential contender.

            Only now has that 30 or so Dem putler bloc broken cover; and they had demanded the same as the far right; a “land for peace” deal, until they were slapped down.

            The GOP does not slap down its putlerites, who are not libertarian or isolationist, they want putler to win and Ukraine to die. A vote for them is a tactical vote for genocide.

            Look at the words spoken by Trump, Taylor-Greene, McCarthy, Paul, JD Vance etc this year and their media cheerleaders; Carlson, Candace Owens, Savage, Jones, Ingraham etc. These people are far more important and therefore more dangerous than the piss-ass leftists that wrote to Biden and were forced to back down. Why can’t the GOP do the same thing with their in-house putinoid scum?

            You will see next month which way the wind is blowing. The GOP is expecting big gains. Will their new intake favour the positions of good guys like Roger Wicker, Mitch McConnell etc, or will they be taking the McCarthy line?
            In the latter case Ukraine will suffer yet more, unfortunately.

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.