Head of Central Electoral Committee Responds to Mikhail Khodorkovsky

December 21, 2017

On Tuesday 19 December, Open Russia founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky published an open letter to the head of the Central Electoral Committee calling for her to decline from registering Vladimir Putin in the upcoming presidential elections as to do so would be a violation the Russian Constitution.

In his letter Khodorkovsky underlined the fact that Vladimir Putin has been in power for 17 years, a length of time that is at odds with the requirements laid out in the Russian Constitution. He also claimed that the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev (in power between 2008 and 2012) couldn’t be counted as a proper transition of power, as Medvedev was not in any real sense acting independently as the leader of the country.  At the end of his letter Khodorkovsky wrote that he is sure that many of the Russian people will support the letter and that it would not be worthwhile ignoring it.

The head of the Central Electoral Committee, Ella Pamfilova, commented today on Khodorkovsky’s letter, claiming that he is putting public pressure on the Central Electoral Committee. Pamfilova said: “I am not afraid to take responsibility for my decisions in front of the court of history, nor any other kind of court. I am relying on the Constitution, law and my life principles. All forms of public pressure on me or my colleagues are useless”.

Khodorkovsky commented on Pamfilova’s reply on Twitter: ““Public pressure on me is useless” in the Russian translation, means: “I do not care about legal arguments and the opinion of Russian citizens.” But my aim is achieved – she received the message. Now they can’t say that they didn’t know this. Thank you for you reply”.

Russia’s presidential elections will take place on March 18.  At the moment, 32 people have put forward their desire to run as candidates in the elections. On December 6, Vladimir Putin announced that he he will once again run for a fourth presidential term in 2018.  The overwhelming consensus is that he will win.