Why Me?

Unlike
other constant candidates who have to explain why they are worthy of
being president of the Russian Federation, my task is simple: I just
have to explain why I fit the role of candidate “Against all.”

I
am outside confining ideological frameworks. I am not a member of any
specific parties, I’m not constrained by party or group discipline, and
within the campaign.

I’m not even for or against “Crimea is Ours.”
I want an end to pervasive theft. I want there to be real politics,
authorities who are accountable to the people’s free choice, people who
decide for themselves where they want to live and who decide on equal
terms with the entire world community and neighboring countries where
Crimea really belongs.

None of the candidates of the establishment
opposition has fallen before the repressive machine of power. None of
them has been detained, or had their home searched, or had something
seized or confiscated. They all live on some form of state financing and
sponsor support which is completely safe for both donor and recipient.
They take part in the elections because they can’t do anything else,
including earn money in any other way.

I know what I risk, and I
have shown my readiness to take those risks. I have other things to do,
but I am putting it all aside to do what I think is necessary (and
possible) at this political moment.

I’m against revolutions. I’m a
good middleman and organizer. Alexei Navalny offered the current top
leadership to leave quietly — and that’s right and very important for
strengthening the procedures of power changing hands in the country. But
they don’t believe him. But they believe me. I can talk with everyone,
in part because I personally know the majority of the Russian
establishment, and partly because I’m a journalist with the profession
of speaking with everyone.

Almost 500 difficult professions in
Russia are officially closed to women. But among the other professions,
women get about 30 percent less pay than men. Women make up only about 5
percent of top executives in the country’s most important companies.

This
problem exists everywhere, but Russia doesn’t even come close to
developed countries in solving it, despite the public declarations of
gender equality.

I am a woman. I don’t have that terrible male ego
that always prevents politicians from coming to an agreement, that
thinks the best way to solve any problem is with force when that is
almost never true. Regardless of the result, half the population of the
country deserves to hear a woman’s voice for the first time in 14 years
of these supposedly male games.

I’m a celebrity and even popular,
although not as a politician. But if elections give a podium for people
to stand on, then it’s essential that people hear the person speaking.
It’s essential that the person at the podium isn’t afraid to speak and
can speak.

I’m well off, but my income is the result of hard work
that everyone can see. I don’t own any privatized factories. I don’t get
commissions or kickbacks. I pay all the taxes I owe and am proud of my
independence. I can collect money for my campaign, and that is also very
important because I probably won’t have time to get a kopek from a
million poor people. I hope I’ll get money from the elite, and that
shows that all the strata of society are displeased with what is
happening.

I think that it’s important to understand that we are
all in the same boat — young and old, celebrity and anonymous, rich and
ill. We aren’t rocking the boat. Our boat has been warped by political
imbalance, the mistakes of the leaders, their lack of professionalism
and theft. But together we can fix that.

I may be too romantic,
but we have enough political cynics. But at the same time I, Ksenia
Sobchak, am sufficiently rational to understand that the authorities
will want to use my nomination as a way to legitimize the elections
instead of by raising the turnout, which in my view the authorities
don’t need: Everyone who doesn’t come to vote only makes falsification
easier and makes the share of the conservative, unenlightened, and
deceived majority even higher.

By letting me take part in the
elections, the authorities will want to show “representation of the full
political spectrum” — as if my presence on the ballot solves the
problem of other candidates who are not allowed to run.

But I’m
the candidate “Against Everyone” and I refuse to play someone else’s
role or take someone else’s place. For that reason from the very start I
say what I will do in these elections: I will describe how bad things
are in the country.

I will say that the system needs to be
changed. I will demand — and in fact have already demanded — that Alexei
Navalny be free and that his candidacy for president be registered. And
I demand the release of all political prisoners. (Here it is important
to note that this concerns the representatives of the establishment
opposition: personally I am even against the very doubtful victory of
Grigory Yavlinsky in the presidential elections, but I think that
refusing him participation in the last elections was a disgrace.)

If
other representatives of the liberal opposition, including — and in
first place — Alexei Navalny can register to run, I am ready to
coordinate my efforts with them, right up to withdrawing my candidacy.
If Russian citizens support my self-nomination under these terms and I
register as a candidate, I will continue to staunchly maintain that
position.

And in my view, this is beneficial for the political
climate in the country. If after declarations such as these I am not
registered — that’s beneficial, too. It clarifies things and lays bare
the system’s hypocrisy.

I know that I’m a controversial figure.
I’m a journalist, a blonde with an easy life, the daughter of a
reformer, member of the coordinating council of the Russian opposition.
Maybe I’m not the candidate for you, but my participation in the
elections on the platform positions noted above are beneficial for
voters and useful for the Russian political system.