Russia is a great country. It deserves
the kind of president who won't make it blush when we see him (or her)
on television. In recent decades, many great women have governed their
countries with dignity: Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher and Curazon Aquino,
In my view, the poor showing of the Women of Russia movement in parliamentary
elections at the end of 1995 was the result not just of disrespect for
women in general, and the growth of patriarchal sentiment in society, as
much as it was the result of the inconsistency of their political platform
(for example, their position on the war in Chechnya).
We are tired of the war, of the instability in our lives, of the unpredictability
of the government's foreign and domestic policies, of corruption in government,
of the lawlessness across the country, and of violations of human rights.
We are tired of being ashamed of our government, and do not trust our President.
Ahead lie presidential elections, and the choice is not a great one. But
still, there is a choice!
On January 29th, 1996, an initiative was filed with the Petersburg
Central Elections Committee by a group of voters, nominating Galina Starovoitova
for the office of President of the Russian Federation. She is the only
woman candidate nominated for the post of President.
We are for Galina Starovoitova not only because she is a woman. Our
main criterion, of course, is not the sex of the candidate, but their professional
and personal characteristics, and their positions on politics and life.
We, the Petersburg Centre for Gender Problems, became personally acquainted
with Galina Starovoitova in the Summer of 1995. She took part in an international
conference organized by the Centre, Feminist Theory and Practice, East
and West, and appeared before the plenary session to deliver a report,
"Women's Politics in Russia Today". We were convinced that Galina
was well acquainted with the problems that women face in our country today,
as well as with the positions of various women's groups, and the feminist
alternative in society.
We are for Galina because she is a well-known human-rights activist
(she was a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, and worked with Andrei
Sakharov). She is famous for her brilliant speeches in the Duma, and for
her consistently democratic and anti-war positions. In spite of the skeptics'
opinion that Galina doesn't have a chance of winning the presidency, we
believe she does. She has already won the vote in three electoral campaigns,
in quite difficult conditions.
In 1989, when she was elected a USSR Member of Parliament from Yerevan,
Galina had four male rivals, and there were 300 thousand residents in her
district. Election results showed that she received approximately 80% of
the vote. A year later, St. Petersburg elected her to the Russian parliament
(the law then permitted simultaneous membership in two parliaments, Russia's
and the USSR's). She again received 80% of the vote against two male rivals.
As a result, Galina became the only woman to be member of both parliaments.
In the 1995 elections to the State Duma, she ran in the same district
in St. Petersburg that she served as a Deputy. This district posted the
largest number of candidates for one chair in the State Duma--25 people.
Galina Starovoitova beat 24 men: generals, bankers and politicians, in
what is indisputable proof of the excellence of her work as a Deputy. Keeping
her campaign promises, Galina helped her constituents solve their housing,
legal and ecological problems. She got people who were illegally dismissed
from their jobs reinstated, saved soldiers from hazings, got wages raised
and pensions reviewed, made possible the building of cooperative housing
for young families in her district, and helped get aid for hospitals and
As is well known, women make up more than one-half of the population
of Russia; that is, more than one-half of the electorate. If every woman
voted for Galina Starovoitova, the outcome would be assured. We support
the nomination of Galina Starovoitova for the post of President of the
RF, and are collecting signatures on her behalf. In order for her to run,
she must have a minimum of one million signatures in support of her candidacy.
In accordance with election law, 70 thousand signatures are sufficient
from any one member of the Federation. The deadline for submitting the
signature rolls to the election commission in Moscow is April 15th, 1996.
You can contact the initiative group for Galina's nomination in Moscow
at: (095) 291-53-00.