“Good luck to us all and a Happy New Year!”

December 31, 2015

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

As the new year approaches we all think back on the events of the year that has ended; and with the prudent caution of adults but a child-like belief in miracles we peer forward into the future.

About the most optimistic thing we can say about the year 2015 in our country is that we had not seen anything like it in a long time and, God willing, we never will again.

Several years ago, while I was in prison on yet another false conviction, I wrote that Putin’s return to the throne was a fatal mistake that would bring disaster to both him and the country.  That our customary 15-year cycle of expecting something better from the leader of the country would end in 2014, while 2015 would become for him the first year of failures that would no longer be forgiven. If Putin had left for good in 2008 he could have entered history as a fiendishly lucky fellow. But fate does not tolerate complacency. And luck turned its back on him.

Two wars — one in Ukraine and another in Syria — plus the brink of one with Turkey, and now some vague noises being heard from Afghanistan.

The perpetual and never-ending economic crisis and the loss of position in two other key sectors —  the new “Silk Road” is bypassing Russia, while the new reusable spaceship technologies have also passed us by.

The embarrassingly disgraceful investigation into the murder of Nemtsov; and our prosecutor Chaika’s buddies from Kushchevskaya, and investigator-in-chief Bastrykin’s pals in Tambov.

It would be great if we could have just left all of them behind in the last year.

And as for the rest of us, we have got to start getting ready for life beyond then. To try and remember what competitive politics, economics, professional education, medicine, housing, and public utilities are. We need a prepared youth, while the youth needs professional experience and our faith that they will be able to meet the challenges ahead.

And they will be able to meet these challenges — if we have faith in them and help them to the best of our abilities.

When we say that Russia has always managed to find new strength and to emerge victorious at the last moment — this is true. As it is also true that this new strength is nothing but we ourselves and those who just recently were sitting in the next room pretending to be doing their homework.

The 2016 elections — for us these are not elections, but a way to prepare political leaders for #afterputin.

Today’s power is illegitimate; it passes unlawful laws, which must be sabotaged whenever possible.  The removal and replacement of this power will take place through revolution.

The current Constitution is bad not only because it does not work, but because it does not have armed defenders. It is not a contract, but a “deed of gift.” The next Constitution is going to be a post-revolutionary contract.

To help people gain experience in fighting for their rights and show what they are capable of through this struggle — this is my task. To help every inhabitant of Russia remember that he or she is a citizen, and that the power in the country comes from him or her — this is my task.  And every family — that it will live under the next power, no matter how much someone might want the opposite or some other outcome.

These tasks will be carried out by Open Russia.

This is how I see the path to our victory together.

Good luck to us all and a Happy New Year!

Mikhail Khodorkovsky