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  • Documents on Democracy


In the September 8 Moscow mayoral election, anticorruption fighter Alexei Navalny surprised observers by winning 27 percent of the vote, nearly forcing incumbent Sergei Sobyanin into a runoff. On July 18, Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison on politically motivated charges of embezzlement, but after thousands protested at the Kremlin, he was released on bail, allowing him to contest the election. The night after the election, he spoke to his followers in Bolotnaya Square. Lightly edited excerpts of his remarks, originally published by the Interpreter, a special project of the Institute of Modern Russia, appear below. The full text of Navalny’s speech may be found at

I am speaking for the second time at a rally which is devoted to falsifications in elections. The first time was 5 December 2011. Then it was a rally of desperate observers. That really was a rally of desperation. We realized that we would achieve nothing but we still came out to demonstrate. Now I have tried to understand whether this is a rally of victory or defeat. …

We have all along wanted to speak at a rally of victory. We are all very tired of the fact that in the last 13–15 years, we kept losing. I am glad to appear with you today at a meeting of victory. Thank you. …

I am standing now at a rally where I can simply state: A large opposition has been born in Russia. A real, large political movement has been born in Russia, which represents the interests of the majority, which can go to the elections with a constructive program, and is prepared to win these elections. And we are that political movement. … We will be the leading political force in Russia which will fight United Russia. We know that only we can beat it, and we will definitely win.

Politics has finally been born in Russia in these elections. An opposition has been born. We know exactly what to do and we know exactly how to do it. … They won’t register all our parties; they will give us [End Page 180] trouble over [permissions for] rallies; they will give us troubles with trials. We realize that. But now we also know exactly how to fight this. At last we have found the correct format for [our] work. At last, we know what to do. … We must go to rallies like we are going to work. And we have to treat our opposition activism as a job. …

I urge you to trust me because I know what to do next. Once at one of the rallies I shouted that I’m an Internet hamster, and I will gnaw through the throats of those beasts. You’ll agree that I have gnawed those throats a bit with your help. I know exactly what to do next. I know that the toad on the pipeline is afraid, it’s jumping because its feet are getting hot, and it’s we who have done it and it’s we who will do more.

We know how to convert the political machine which we have created in these elections into a steamship which will crush United Russia and all the crooks and thieves which United Russia has stuffed into all the offices of power. Our campaign headquarters has not ceased to work. We will work in Moscow tomorrow and the day after, until the second round, in a year, in two years in Moscow, in St. Petersburg, in Yekaterinburg, and in all the cities of the country. And we will propose … information work, organizational work, Internet work everywhere. Everywhere we will find like-minded people. … Thank you so much. We will definitely win. Let the toad on the pipeline hear and be afraid.


In Ghana’s 7 December 2012 presidential election, John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) narrowly avoided a runoff with 50.7 percent of the vote. Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who finished second, alleged fraud and, along with two other members of his party, filed a legal challenge to the results. The...


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pp. 180-184
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