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Is voting in Russia’s July 1 plebiscite worth it? A quick summary of the debate between Alexey Navalny and Maxim Katz

Source: Meduza

During a video call plagued by technical difficulties, opposition leader Alexey Navalny and former Yabloko party member Maxim Katz debated the benefit of participating in Russia’s July 1 plebiscite on constitutional amendments. To be honest, the debate was rather boring, so you’re better off reading our short and sweet summary.

Alexey Navalny: In 99 percent of cases I advocate for participation in elections, but this is not an election. There is an epidemic going on in the country, voting is unsafe, therefore it’s immoral to call supporters to the polls. Our task is to explain to people that the vote was thought up for the sake of zeroing Vladimir Putin’s [presidential] terms. And arguing about whether or not to boycott is meaningless, let everyone decide for themselves. I don’t want to be as cynical as Putin and urge my supporters to risk their lives to go to an event, whose results have long been known. 

Maxim Katz: Polls we conducted on the streets of Nizhny Novgorod and Ulan Ude show that 80 percent [of respondents] are against the amendments. We need to convince them to come, because government employees will be driven to the polls for sure, and if those who are against don’t come then then the authorities will win without falsification. Our task is to prevent this. I understand that voting is a crime against humanity, it could kill a lot of people, but Putin decided to hold it, we are not responsible for it. But we don’t have the right to refuse a protest. 

You can watch the full debate here.

Summary by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Eilish Hart

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