Newsletters / Opposition to Unite Against Corrupt Presidential Elections

On Sunday January 28 demonstrations will take place across Russia in protest of the re-election of Vladimir Putin, scheduled to coincide with the 4 year anniversary of the annexation of Crimea.  Open Russia founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Movement’s council have called the elections “pseudo-elections” and “part of an elaborate showcase designed to give off the image of an election”.  After 18 years in power Vladimir Putin and his entourage have consolidated power and influence in such a way that no challenger has a chance to unseat him.

In many cities, including both Moscow and St. Petersburg, the demonstrations have not been officially authorized by the local authorities, and authorities have warned that participants will face a harsh reaction from the police.  Last year over 1500 primarily young people were detained during anti-corruption rallies across the country.

Open Russia founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky recently stated that he considers the March 18 presidential elections to be a facade: “If there was to be an election in 2018 by some miracle, it is highly likely that Putin would lose. Instead, in 2018 we’re going to see a show called ‘the Presidential Election.’ It cannot be won, because it is a show. The show will go exactly as the producer has planned.”

Alexey Navalny, who is seen as the main organiser of the Jan 28 demonstrations, said: “Yes, they have stolen the elections from us, but we will not give up.”

Open Russia activists across the country have been promoting an active boycott of the elections  emphasising the necessity for public engagement and regular, visible public protest. Going to the polls and voting for any other candidate or spoiling the ballot is a more sensible option than a passive boycott of non-participation, which effectively hands victory uncontested to the ruling elite.

Alexander Soloviev, Chairman of the Open Russia Movement, has commented:

“We support a strike, but not a boycott.  What’s the difference? A boycott is too often mistaken for an ‘armchair protest’, but a strike is a an active demonstration.  There’s not a boycott in history that led to power changing hands, but regular strike action is an effective way to peacefully bring about change.” 

Open Russia’s Human Rights Team is on call to provide emergency legal assistance to all citizens involved in the nationwide demonstrations who find themselves being detained and carried off to a police cell.

Open Russia founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky will also be holding a livestream discussion in Moscow on February 3 to discuss the presidential elections and the future of Russia, as well as to take questions from local people.

For further information please contact:

pr-ov@openrussia.org

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