Newsletters / “Russia has no elections anymore”

Russia prepares to vote in the State Duma elections, while virtually all independent media are silenced and opposition candidates are not allowed to run.

“As a result of the recent events Russia has no elections anymore. (…) The results are controlled manually. They used to be able to fake 10% of votes, but now it’s closer to 30 – 40%“
Mikhail Khodorkovsky

The only candidate related to the recently dissolved “Otkrytka” on the ballot is organizations’ former executive director Andrey Pivovarov. He was forced to run a unique campaign from a pre-trial detention center in Krasnodar, where he remains for over 100 days on absurd political charges.

As part of the campaign, Pivovarov’s team regularly talks to voters in the streets of Moscow and Krasnodar presenting Andrey’s program. They mobilize volunteers and train them in elections monitoring and voter engagement. The team also asks the public to write postcards to the candidate, which they later send to Andrey. At the same time, they deal with kafkaesque obstacles from the prison authorities, who refused to give the team Pivovarov’s passport necessary for registration and didn’t allow him to read the postcards calling his own picture agitation material.

Just few days before the vote Roskomnadzor blocked website duma.vote which is supported by Mikhail Khodorkovsky under the law on a undesirable organizations. The move came just a few weeks after the authorities blocked all independent media platforms including Open Media and MBK Media supported by Khodorkovsky and effectively forced them to close down. The closed website gathers public information about all State Duma candidates past activities in the parliament and position on key issues.

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Mikhail Khodorkovsky commented on the upcoming elections in an interview for TV Rain:
“When people realize there’re no elections anymore, they can take to the streets and declare that they lost an opportunity citizen of all modern countries have: an opportunity to choose their own government. But changing the government via elections is impossible in Russia today.”

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