Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Russia’s Presidential “Election”

March 13, 2018

I’m sure you’ll be surprised, but today I want to talk about the Russian presidential elections. Now there is a lot of discussion in society about whether to take part in the elections or not. Perhaps since these elections are not real elections, on which absolutely everyone agrees, then maybe a boycott is the best solution and it’s not worth turning up at all.

So we had the Moscow mayoral elections in 2013. Alexei Navalny could not possibly have won, however, people came out to the elections and as a result he became a federal politician. Is this important for democracy in our country? Yes, it is. Municipal elections were held in Moscow on September 10 2017. It was impossible to win in these elections. Firstly, simply because municipalities do not have the necessary power. Secondly, it was clear that the mayoral office would deal with the problem itself. Nevertheless, people turned up and hundreds of people became municipal deputies.  People became aware of the fact that they could win.

Now back to the presidential elections. They are also not real elections, and they too cannot be won. But you can either use the elections to express your civil position, or you can stay at home on your couch. How are you going to explain to people that these particular elections can’t be won and that’s why you shouldn’t to go and vote, but these other elections, which also can’t be won, you should go and vote in them.  How are you going to win at all? Are you ready to go to the barricades, after not turning up to vote and demonstrating that you consider yourself fully independent of the authorities? Not ready just yet? Then what are we talking about? What other option do you have besides the democratic tradition of going out to vote. Sooner or later, perhaps not in these elections, but as a result of the elections, there will be a change of government. And  we are certain of the fact that this will indeed happen sooner or later.  Well, except for those of us who believe in Skulachev’s magic droplets that supposedly allow mice to live forever.

Think about it: you didn’t come out and vote in the elections. What message have you communicated by doing this? What are you saying to the authorities? What are you saying to other people? In doing this you say that “I, like another 20 million people, believe that Putin will be elected anyway.” “I actually support him myself and I’m just too lazy to go to these elections.” Or you said: “Yes, I do not give a damn about this country, I will succeed somewhere abroad. Maybe I have not left Russia yet, but I do not care what happens here, so I will not go to these elections. Putin or no Putin, it’s not important at all.” Then you, together with another ten million people, or twenty million people, will stay on your couch for that reason.

Or maybe you decided not to go to the elections because you don’t like that certain candidates are not included on the list: for example, Igor Strelkov Girkin, or Evgeny Prigozhin, or Wagner Utkin. So you are not going to the elections for that reason along with five thousand or more weird people. Or maybe you want to say something else? For example, you made a well-thought-out decision to demonstrate that you do not want to go and vote in these elections, as you do not consider them to be real elections. How will we understand this? How can you communicate your message to others?

Here is what I recommend: go to the polling station, take a ballot, be sure to check where you put the signature when registering to avoid falsifications so that there are not 10 other people like you. Then take the ballot, use a red bright thick felt-tip pen and write “Enough!” across it. Photograph it and with the hashtag #Enough and upload it to the Internet. I assure you that if starting from Vladivostok through Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Ekaterinburg to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kaliningrad, people upload tons of photographs with #Enough, then this will certainly upset not just all the low-level officials, but Vladimir Putin himself, of whom we have well and truly had enough.  So all the best, subscribe to the channel, and I hope that we will see you after your campaign at the polling stations or through photographs on the Internet with many hashtagged ballots. Thank you, goodbye.

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