The regime has destroyed politics

An interview with Irina Khakamada of the initiative group that nominated Mikhail Khodorkovsky for the Duma.

Question: What does the initiative group count on? Do you really think that the authorities will permit Khodorkovsky to become a public politician after what was done to YUKOS and its top executives?

Irina Khakamada: The regime has destroyed politics, leaving the opposition – democratic and partially, left-wing, to its own devices. Moreover, that means first and foremost an appeal to feelings, charisma, and energy. It follows that nomination of Khodorkovsky is essentially a display of courage, gallantry, and protest.

Actually, this is a political-emotional action. On the one hand, we have to get through the wall of the tame media and inform the people that we are not afraid. On the other, we have to support Khodorkovsky. It is clear after all that he knew what he was doing when he accepted imprisonment. I mean he knew that he was actually going to political barricades. This is a period of his evolution as a politician, and in order to survive, he needs signals from us that we are with him.

As for us, members of the initiative group, we also understand that we are unlikely to succeed. Had it been easy to defeat the state machinery, it would have been defeated long ago. We also know that this is not a PR campaign for us, because the majority of the population still views Khodorkovsky as an oligarch. Meaning that even if we sided up with him, it will not earn us any additional votes, on the contrary, it may cost us some.

In the long run, nomination of Khodorkovsky is a stimulus of political life, a stimulus of coordination of protests. This latter is already taking place because the initiative group itself comprises representatives of democratic forces and men like Dorenko and Limonov.

As I say, politics is done away with. The population remains in stuporous slumber. It takes emotions and passion to awaken it.

As for the rumors that Kasianov will be nominated for the Duma instead of Khodorkovsky if the latter is denied registration as a candidate, I can only say that nobody has ever discuss it with me, that the initiative group has never discussed the idea. Moreover, as far as I know Kasianov himself intends to run for the Duma from a different district.