28 June 2020
Viktor Shenderovich is a writer, journalist and laureate of the Moscow-Helsinki Award for the protection of human rights
I’m not trying to cause any trouble, just to make clear my own position on this matter.
On 2 July, Ms. Pamfilova will present to His Excellency the statistical figure that His Excellency would like to see. It’s impossible to fully oversee a week-long vote when it’s taking place in car boots and up against tree trunks. Even when it was possible, and the authorities were caught stealing, they simply broke the limbs of any witnesses, put the protesters in prison, and still showed their own figures.
This is bad news.
The good thing is that none of this is very important. The whole matter has been invalid from the very start. Once Putin has ceased to exist as a political entity, this Mickey Mouse document with ‘amendments to the Constitution’ will be recognized as legally void at the first new meeting of the first court or parliament.
But until then, he is already free to do whatever he wants with us — with or without amendments, it doesn’t make a difference …
All this, oddly enough, makes our choice easier these days: you can just do what you want. Whatever you want — follow your emotions!
If you want to run far away from this mess, then run. If you want to come closer so that you can spit in their faces — go and spit. Vote against the amendments or write on the ballot any of your demands or wishes for Electoral Commission members, but be sure to photograph it and post it on the internet!
The only thing that matters is the amount of public protest visible to the naked eye. Ready to organize a flash mob? Great. Find the strength to stand on a picket — and stand there. Come up with other forms of protest (preferably without doing yourself any harm) — and carry them out!
Ahead are some very tough times, and they have more or less already begun. The stories about electoral ballots and the importance of these pieces of paper in our politics are over. Russia is a police state, with all the ensuing consequences. The level of state violence will grow: Putin and Co. drove themselves long ago into a dingy corner of illegitimacy, and they simply don’t have an agenda besides their ongoing war with the world, a parade for their subjects and massacre for those who disagree.
Serious changes will come here, they will, alas, no longer be as a result of our little ticks in particular boxes. We passed that fork in the road a long way back.
Therefore, just do whatever you think is necessary — and do not bother with outdated discussions on the topic of whether to boycott elections or not.
Translated by Alice Lee