RUSSIA’S 2018 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

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RUSSIA’S 2018 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

5 February @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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Russia’s presidential election, which will be held on 18 March, is virtually certain to see Vladimir Putin chosen for a fourth term.

But Mr. Putin’s election campaign has not been without controversy. The last few months of 2017 saw members of Russia’s top policy-making circles airing their different views on what direction the country needs to take after the election. In December, Alexey Navalny, the anticorruption opposition leader, was banned from participating in the election. The start of 2018, meanwhile, has seen protests erupt across Russia in support of boycotting the election.

By kind invitation of The Rt Hon. John Whittingdale MP, The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to an event with Dmitry Gudkov and David Satter, who will give their thoughts on the key issues and important trends in Russia’s domestic politics, and what Mr. Putin’s likely re-election means for Russia’s future.

Dmitry Gudkov

Dmitry Gudkov is a Russian politician, public figure and former independent deputy of the State Duma (Lower Chamber of Russian Parliament). Dmitry was elected as a member of the State Duma in December 2011 on the list of the party as “A Just Russia”, but later expelled from the party for disagreeing with Putin’s line in 2013. Gudkov was one the leaders who led the protest movement that swept the country following the contested Duma elections of 2011 and he was on the front lines of the Bolotnaya Square protest in 2011-2013 and participated in the peace march for Ukraine in Moscow. In 2012. D. Gudkov and Ilya Ponomarev led a parliamentary filibuster against a bill allowing large fines for anti-government protesters. The Economist described the filibuster as “the most striking act of parliamentary defiance in Russia”. Gudkov has announced plans to run for mayor of Moscow in September 2018.

David SatterDavid Satter is a former Moscow correspondent and expert on Russia and the Soviet Union. He served from 1976 to 1982 as the Moscow correspondent of the Financial Times and afterward became the special correspondent for Soviet affairs of The Wall Street Journal. He has written four books about  Russia, including, most recently, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin, which was published by the Yale University Press. He is presently working on a comprehensive history of Russia after the fall of communism.

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EVENT SUMMARY

By kind invitation of The Rt Hon. John Whittingdale MP, the Henry Jackson Society was delighted to welcome the Russian politician and former independent deputy of the State Duma Dmitry Gudkov and former Financial Times and Wall Street Journal correspondent on Soviet affairs David Satter.

Mr. Gudkov was one of the leaders who led the protest movement that swept the country following the contested Duma elections of 2011 and was on the front lines of the Bolotnaya Square in 2011-2013. He also participated in the peace march for Ukraine that was organised in Moscow in 2014 as a reaction to the Russian government’s involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Mr. Gudkov is expected to be running for mayor of Moscow in September 2018.

The gentlemen discussed prospects of the upcoming presidential election and the role and strategy of the opposition. They agreed that in the current political environment in Russia Vladimir Putin stays unchallenged. However, there is a hope that the election could become a platform for open and free discussions on democracy, corruption and political prosecution. Such a platform would help in bringing international attention to these issues and in aligning the Duma’s agenda with the pressing interests of the Russian population.

Mr. Gudkov thought the opposition did not have access to major media and state television in the country but through recruiting volunteers the opposition could succeed in informing the larger public about the fairness of the election process and in raising awareness about the most important issues. Mr. Satter noted that the opposition’s attention should be focused on stories such as the killing of Mr. Putin’s critic Boris Nemtsov and the explosions in St. Petersburg’s metro station last year, as well as on the Beslan school tragedy in 2004. According to Mr. Satter, those are the debates that are going to determine Russia’s democratic future if were held openly.

Mr. Gudkov argued that the Russian population is well aware of those tragedies, which was demonstrated by the memorial march held in the honour of Mr. Nemtsov. At the same time, the majority of Russians have access only to state television. When discussing corruption and foreign assets of Russian oligarchs, Mr. Satter noted that stealing was something Russians got accustomed to and that is how the system works, therefore efforts to expose corruption, such as Panama Papers, have had no significant impact or indeed a resonance within the Russian society. He reminded that both Gorbachov and Yeltsin talked about state corruption in the past.

Mr. Gudkov, in his turn, suggested that selective approach of applying sanctions had certain effect. He expressed his hope for the opposition to be able to unite in the upcoming presidential, as well as municipal elections. The next important step for Mr. Gudkov would be to take part in Moscow’s mayoral elections in September. Mr. Gudkov believes the Russian government wants to restore relations with the West and if the opposition manages to succeed, the Russian society could gradually be able to depart from the authoritarian nature of the Russian state.

Details

Date:
5 February
Time:
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Tags:

Venue

Committee Room 6, House of Commons
Westminster
London, SW1A 0AA United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Other

SPEAKER
Dmitry Gudkov, Russian politician, public figure and former independent deputy of the State Duma; and David Satter, former Moscow Correspondent, Financial Times

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