The Federal Political Committee of the Russian United Democratic Party Yabloko regards the voting that took place on 18 March as a plebiscite held within the framework of an authoritarian system turning into a totalitarian one.

The system formed in Russia does not allow free, competitive, fair and real elections.

Putin’s regime bases its legitimacy not on the free choice of citizens, but on ousting [Russian] citizens from the adoption of key political decisions, primarily on the formation of power.

There has been no freedom of the media and independent sources of financing for political and civil organisations, and independent court in Russia for a long time already; mass-scale [election] fraud has been covered from above and electoral commissions are virtually being integrated into the administrative vertical.

We and all who follow the developments in our country know that not all the parties were really collecting signatures and managed to collect them [so that their candidates were registered in the election campaign]. There were persons and organisations registered as participants in elections who did not fulfill even those requirements for collecting signatures envisaged in Russian laws. The authorities closed their eyes on it because they needed underparts to turn the official campaign held in the federal media into a senseless show, where Vladimir Putin demonstratively did not take part.

Consciously and purposefully, efforts were taken to cut off opposition-minded people of European views from participation in the campaign.

Seeing the public’s request for the change and solution of growing social and economic problems, the authorities pushed this request to the background, artificially creating in Russia an atmosphere of fear and threat to the country’s security – through large-scale state propaganda, military adventurism, militarisation of consciousness and a foreign policy crisis.

Neglecting the law, the authorities and state-run media participated in the election campaign in the role of Putin’s election headquarters. Before there had never been so many films about Putin broadcast on television keeping in mind presidential elections, even on the Day of Silence [on the threashold of the voting day when any campaigning is prohibited], never before had Rossiyskaya Gazeta been transformed into the propaganda newspaper of the incumbent president.

The officially announced results not merely raise doubts: in the present situation there are reasons to distrust touchscreen voting machines (KOIBs) and perceive the State Automated Election System (GAS Vibory) and touchscreen voting machines (and up to 35 million people voted with the help of these machines) as programmable tools for managing the voting results. Electronic intervention and adjustment of results in the Russian elections is very likely and quite in line with the doping scandals, “trolls and bots factories”, hacking manipulations and other state adventures. This is not to mention other well-tried ways of fraud: as, for example, in Saratov in the State Duma elections in 2016, when 140 electoral precincts yielded absolutely the same results for the [ruling] United Russia party, coinciding up to the basis points of percentage.

Being well aware of all this, we set ourselves the task of making the most of the procedure organised by the government for [our] political purposes.

We demonstrated to our compatriots the threats to their future and ways to overcome them, the existence of an alternative to the domestic and foreign policies of Putin’s regime, the possibility for creation of a strong, steadily developing economy in Russia, overcoming poverty, and improving the living standards for the majority of Russians.

We provided people not just promises and slogans, but detailed and carefully calculated programmes and draft laws. We developed and economically justified the programme of urgent measures to combat poverty, such programmes of the national scale as Housing-Land-Roads and Gas to Every Home, created a map of the budgetary capacity of the Russian regions, calculated the real volume of possible increases in expenditures for healthcare, education and social sphere. We offered people the image of the future – freedom, creativity, equality of opportunity and life without fear – and showed the way to a dignified future.

We directly linked the real prospects of a dignified life with the cessation of aggressive foreign policy, incitement of war in Donbass, militarization of the country, need for peace with Ukraine and other neighbours, and withdrawal of the Russian army and Russian citizens from Syria. We proposed a concrete, expertly developed plan on all the key issues.

We used the presidential campaign to distribute our information materials as widely as possible, in particular, we distributed nearly 34 million copies of printed materials throughout Russia. We used all available  opportunities for voicing our stance in the all-Russian and regional electronic mass media. We conducted an active work on the Internet. Over 30 million users read our materials published in the social networks. Our candidate traveled dozens of Russian cities and met with voters in each of them.

Our discussions with people were serious and informative, we managed to distance ourselves from the “political circus”.

The key result of this campaign conducted in the conditions that have developed in Russia by 2018 are millions of people who heard us.

Certainly, there are many people poisoned by propagandistic lies that the official mass media broadcast and publish around the clock, but what we need to overcome first of all is not voters’ support for Putin, but their disbelief in the possibility of implementing an alternative.

Without seeing any other future, any prospects, people adjust to what they have.

In such circumstances, it would be naive and counterproductive to regard the results that will be announced by the Central Election Commission today, AS THE REAL RESULTS OF THE ELECTION.

The immediate perspective is difficult for all sensible and responsible people in Russia. It is aggravated by the refusal of some of the opposition-minded and dissatisfied citizens to use their vote to support the alternative. The regime has been striving for this purposefully and will now use the obtained result so that to state that there are very few active supporters of a democratic alternative in Russia. It will go on driving the European-oriented opposition into the subcultural ghetto, cutting it off from the country.

Reprisals will increase, provocations with subsequent crushing of political and civil organisations and persecution of activists are very likely.

We realise this and are ready for such developments.

However, we also realise the following:

– irremovability of power leads to decay, increase of corruption and disintegration;

– governing of a huge country implemented by one person only can not be efficient;

– isolated from the world and crushed by Putin’s policy, the Russian economy will stagnate;

– militarisation of the economy, society and consciousness, the declared arms race, confrontation with virtually the entire world have brought Russia to the verge of a real big war that can begin at any moment even for an incidental reason;

– the problems faced by the Russians will multiply, rather than be solved;

– the gap between the authorities and people will be growing;

– absence of the mechanisms to influence the authorities, and even channels of expression of discontent will create a situation of a sealed boiler.

All this creates huge risks for the Russian state as such, but at the same time, it also denotes the natural boundaries of the Putin system.

The Federal Political Committee of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO believes that:

  1. On 18 March, a plebiscite was held regarding the support of the personality of the current president. The results of this vote are not the results of the election.
  2. We note with great concern the threats that Russia will inevitably face in the very near future.
  3. The work we conducted during this campaign is extremely important. This is a work for the perspective and the future. This is work with the soil on which a new Russian policy can grow.

We thank all those who participated in the campaign of Grigory Yavlinsky and supported us, and we call all such people to maintain their self-confidence and their confidence in our common cause.

We have made a step forward: a difficult, but real and meaningful step.

We must continue pursuing our goal, using all available opportunities. And we will go on doing so!

Believe in yourself!

Boris Misnik,

Coordinator of the Federal Political Committee,