Russia’s Election Countdown

June 10, 2016

Round table discussion at the Atlantic Council, with Vladimir Kara-Murza, Federal Coordinator Open Russia

At the Atlantic Council headquarters, the Institute of Modern Russia, the Atlantic Council, and Free Russia held a panel discussion on the prospects for Russia’s 2016 parliamentary election. Vladimir Kara-Murza, Pavel Khodorkovsky, president of the Institute of Modern Russia, John Herbst, Miriam Lanskoy, and Steven Lee Myers discussed the vote, the opposition’s plans, and the international community’s role in ensuring free and fair elections.

“This year they decided to change the date of the election so that the peak of the campaigning season would coincide with the peak of the holiday season because low turnout favours the regime.”

“In the past eight weeks the Kremlin and the Duma have rubberstamped a whole slate of draconian laws, the target both the campaign itself and the electoral observation process.”

“So I don’t think it’s true to say that the situation is worse that it was than five years ago, and that frankly was not a high benchmark either because we know in that election up to 14 million votes according to independent estimates were stolen.”

“There has been a lot of discussion amongst the opposition about whether or not we should participate in these elections. We have decided to participate because history shows that boycotts are meaningless.”

“We must use every opportunity to challenge this regime.”

“We know that there are many people in Russia who reject the autocracy, the corruption, the isolationism that have become the hallmarks of the present regime, who want to see different Russia – normal, modern, European, democratic, a Russia where no one is above the law, where the government is chosen in free and fair elections, a Russia that respects both the rights of its own citizens, and the international norms. And we owe it to these people to give them a political voice.”

“So we will take part in this flawed, manipulated and fraudulent election in order to get our message across through that wall of lies, propaganda and coercion, in order to present an alternative vision.”

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