Our task is to help organize large scale and high quality elections monitoring

August 14, 2015

mbkThe following is Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s statement on the 2015-2016 electoral cycle.

We have seen for ourselves that the authorities are continuing to use the dirtiest and most unlawful methods to keep opposition parties and independent candidates from taking part in elections. The results of the regional campaigns in Novosibirsk, Magadan, and Kaluga are distressing but predictable: candidates and parties that have not been approved by the Kremlin are not being allowed to register, while criminal charges are being brought against independent campaign staff workers.

Open Russia is not a political party—it is not advancing its own candidates and is not participating in the elections directly. But we support the Democratic Coalition and are giving assistance to its participants when possible.

At the present moment, what we are doing in the human rights area is trying to attain the release of Andrei Pivovarov, who is knowingly falsely being charged with altering Ministry of Internal Affairs databases, something he could not have done in principle. It is patently obvious that the charges bear a political character; they are aimed at intimidating citizens who offer their support to democratic candidates.

To be an active oppositioneer today means subjecting your freedom, health, and sometimes even your life to real danger. In these conditions, any support on the part of society becomes doubly valuable.

Open Russia sees its main task in the 2015-2016 electoral cycle as organizing large scale and high quality elections monitoring. For this we have launched the “Open Elections” project. The goal of the project is to mobilize and train volunteer elections monitors who will be able to not only identify and record violations in the course of the elections, but to prevent them from happening in the first place.

One of the people actively involved in the development of this project has been Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., and I am delighted to report that he is back at work on the “Open Elections” project as of 15 August.