Why We Are For Galina Starovoitova

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, for example.
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 orphanages.
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.