Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin addressed a mass demonstration in Moscow on Saturday against recent elections but called on participants to pursue their demands for political change in an organized way and steer well clear of "revolution."
"Russia is entering a crisis," Kudrin told the crowd. "We need able leadership."
He outlined his vision for how to bring about what he described as necessary change in Russia's political system -- a vision that included another parliamentary election after a vote on December 4 won by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party that the demonstrators claim was marred by widespread cheating -- but said this should be a coherent process.
"There are a lot of slogans here but less action," Kudrin told the crowd. "You can't just talk. You've got to start doing something... creation of a platform for dialogue is needed. Otherwise there will be revolution, otherwise we lose the opportunity before us today for the peaceful transformation and the trust that are necessary for a new leadership that will be elected."
The former finance minister said the reform process needed to begin with passage of new laws on political parties followed by legal registration of those parties and an election campaign.
"Only after that can we hold elections," Kudrin said, calling for the resolution adopted after Saturday's rally should contain a call for early parliamentary elections.
Kudrin, widely respected at home and abroad for his stewardship of Russia's economy for the past decade, resigned earlier this year after Putin accepted the United Russia party's nomination to run for president again and announced that he and President Dmitry Medvedev would essentially switch jobs if he were reelected in the next presidential election scheduled for March 4. Kudrin is widely seen as a longtime ally of Putin with whom he worked together at the St. Petersburg City Hall in early 1990’s. Putin said last week that he will “find a spot” for Kudrin in his future government/