Alexei Navalny Speaks

September 10, 2013
ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

Alexei Navalny gave a speech to the crowd gathered at Bolotnaya Square which, of course, was quite different from the one that was given last night from the stage in the same location by Sergei Sobyanin. Slon publishes here a transcription of the speech:

If you want to know how a rock star feels, then first of all, it’s very frightening. They’re telling me to throw myself into the crowd, but I can’t jump far enough. I’m at a rally of tired people. All of these people right here have not slept for two days now. They are already asking, “Who among you were observers?” All of us most likely didn’t sleep last night but I am happy to be here at this rally of tired people who are far more than those 28,000 fake people with whom Sobyanin and United Russia are trying to steal our victory.

Thank you for coming here! When I say and everybody says…when I myself say that Navalny is just a small part of this campaign, Navalny himself, I myself as a person…then I really have felt it now at this rally. These people have said all my words and even shouted all my shouts. I was happy to be a part, even a small part, of something very large and powerful. Thank you once again, my friends! Enormous thanks to you all!

Thanks to the whole team who worked on the elections and who are still working on the election further to the second round which, I am confident, we will achieve!

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…In your opinion, is this a rally of victory of defeat?

[Crowd: Victory!]

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

I would like to apologize to you. Because…each time when I am asked, “Do you believe in victory?” I would say, “I believe in victory, I believe that we can win these elections.” But somewhere there was still the thought that it was impossible, that they have television, they have huge amounts of money, they can smear us all on the television shows. But what do we have? The official ratings show three thirty percent. But today, when I know that thanks to you, thanks to your work, thanks to these people, every third voter in Moscow has given his vote to us, then I can say unequivocally, “This is victory!” Forgive me, please, that I did not totally believe in it!

Who here was at our concert in the rain a few days ago? Thank you so much. I’m glad that you didn’t all get sick. You remember what we talked about there? I asked you to help me, to trust me, to unite, to help me, particularly in getting a name for myself. I think that’s our common name now, of course, and that’s our check-mark on the ballot.

We spoke then with hope, with hope and faith, that we want to change the political space in our country, that we want to build something new, that we want to see a different kind of opposition. 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 work with other political movements which we respect and to whom we are grateful for taking part in this election campaign. But remind me, please, how many votes did the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia receive in Moscow, where 15% of the population of the country lives? How many did Just Russia win? How many did Yabloko? How many did the Communists? We will work with them, but we call on them to work with themselves and to follow us, and we will be the leading political force in Russia which will fight with 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. You heard now the announcement from Leonid Volkov that they are prepared to do a recount of the votes. At least they’ve announced this now. Formally, most likely, our rally has achieved its goal. On the other hand, we also realize that they are trying to deceive us. Of course they are trying to deceive us. We know that, we understand it. They will give me an actual or a suspended sentence and try to squeeze me out of participation in the political struggle.

They won’t register all our parties, they will give us 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 formats for work. At last, we know what to do. If you were at one of the rallies on Sakharov Avenue… I said that we must go to rallies like we’re going to work.

And we have to treat our opposition activism as a job. These were likely some true words, but I am often asked, “Well, alright, but what is this job all about? We don’t understand, explain.” And now, together with you, I can say that we know what this job is, we have done this work in these elections, and we have won! Every third Muscovite has appreciated our work and every third Muscovite has said, “These guys worked great, and I support them!”

And I know that some of you most likely are expecting that I will call on you to remain here on this square. Are you expecting that? Some have shouted “no,” some have shouted “yes.” But I would like to remain, still and all, honest with you to the end, and if we write on our posters “Don’t Lie and Don’t Steal,” then I also don’t intend to lead you astray and do not intend to set you up or subject you to danger and so on. And if I have called you to this rally in order to discuss the results of the elections, and asked you to support our ultimatum, then in fact today that’s what I, that’s what all of us have achieved.

And I don’t want to drag you here if you did not come here intentionally. When the time comes, and it may come, when I call on you to take part in an unauthorized actions, to turn over cars, to light torches or something else… perhaps such a time will come, then I will say directly and tell you in a clear statement: “Guys, those of you who are prepared to light torches and sleep on the payment should come.” I will sleep alongside you on the pavement! But first of all, I would like to give you a warning about it.

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, 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 these formats of information work, organizational work, Internet work everywhere, everywhere we will find like-minded people, everywhere we will include like-minded people in our work.

Some of you are in the project “Navalny in Every Household.” There are 36,000 in Moscow along. We will involve all of Russia in such projects. We will show that we are the main leading political opposition force in the country. In fact, we are! Look at any other party. Fellows with long faces sit in the Duma, they receive hundreds of millions in government cash and do absolutely nothing at all. Here people have united who simply came off the street. They read an announcement, “Come to Lyalin Lane to work on the election campaign” and they came.

Look at yourselves. You didn’t know each other. You have simply read, “Come and fight for your freedom.” You have come and fought. You have come and fought so that we would win, so that we would be victorious. We and you received every third vote – more votes than any other opposition figure in Moscow in the last 20 years. Thank you so much! This is a real victory!

In Moscow and Yekaterinburg, in St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk, in Volgograd and Samara, everywhere people like this will be standing. I don’t know what name they will have on the boards, but it will be completely certain that these people will be one blood with us and these people will be part of our successful political campaign, which will defeat this thieving government throughout the entire country. We will do this, we know how to do it, we have done it in Moscow, and we will do it throughout Russia.

My friends, I am grateful to you for coming out here, I am grateful to you for supporting this ultimatum. This ultimatum, I think, has achieved its purpose. And even if tomorrow we learn that it turns out that it was mistaken, that we were deceived, that they have thought better of it, I believe that this was not only an impulse of your heart, that you have come here in order to engage in this difficult political work together with us.

We toiled in this campaign for three months. This was a great time, this was a happy time which we will remember for a long time. We are ready to keep toiling! We are ready to toil until we win! Who can win in Russia, except us?! We believe in this victory! You believe in me! I believe in you! Thank you so much, we will all win! I am grateful that you have come here! I love you all very much! I appreciate you very much!

I am grateful to fate that I am standing on this stage and enjoying your support. I am grateful to all those people who stand behind me. I am grateful to the hundreds of others who could not fit on this stage. Thank you so much, we will definitely win! Let the toad on the pipeline hear and be afraid. We are coming for it, thank you!

Navalny here isn’t the point. Tell me, who is the power here? We are the power here! We are the power here! Thank you so much, I look at these faces and I realize that success is inevitable. It is simply historically evident that we will win. Our cause is just, we will win! Truth will always win! Thank you so much!