Totalitarianism is already a harsh reality in Russia

Garry Kasparov writes: There are less than two weeks remaining before Russia holds its so-called legislative elections. But we can already draw conclusions about what is going on. We can see that it is not only pointless, but even harmful, for the opposition to participate in the “voting” if its goal is to oppose the regime of President Vladimir Putin.

It has long been commonplace to say the process that is called “elections” in Russia does not play any role in determining matters of political power. Rather it is an imitative mechanism intended to give the appearance of legitimacy to the regime.

Nonetheless, again and again, politicians claiming to be in opposition try to participate, either not understanding or pretending not to understand that by doing so they are playing into the Kremlin’s hands, willingly or not. They are helping it draw Russian citizens into a political process with predetermined results. And by doing so, they become parasites on the understandable human desire of society to believe in the possibility of nonviolent change.

The problem, however, is that Russia long ago passed the point of no return after which change without upheaval (that is, through the ballot) is impossible. In addition, the longer the regime’s agony continues, the more profound the upheavals will be for Russia.

By arguing that it is important to participate in the elections, these “oppositionists” are cultivating false hopes in society, which then become an obstacle to any change in principle.

The arguments used to justify participating in these electoral games entirely ignore current political reality and, in particular, the changes that have occurred in the last few years. [Continue reading…]

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