Khodorkovsky urged the West not to recognize Putin’s legitimacy

Opposition politician Mikhail Khodorkovsky has expressed hope that Western authorities will recognize the upcoming “presidential election” in Russia as illegitimate.

“We expect that we will be able to either convince a significant part of Western governments and parliaments to recognize the illegitimacy of the upcoming elections. Or, at any rate, not to express official recognition of this legitimacy”, Khodorkovsky told the BBC.

He said representatives of the Russian opposition had already held talks with Western politicians and hoped that at least several states would not recognize Vladimir Putin as a legitimate president following the election, in which he plans to be re-elected for a fifth term.

Earlier, Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of politician Alexei Navalny, said in her column for The Washington Post that world leaders should stop recognizing Putin as Russia’s legitimate president in order to bring the collapse of his regime closer.

“Why do democratic countries continue to recognize his criminal power as legitimate? Why do fairly elected world leaders put themselves on a par with a criminal who for decades rigged elections, killed, imprisoned or expelled from the country all his critics, and now unleashed a bloody war in Europe by attacking Ukraine?” – Navalnaya wondered.

Russia’s presidential election will be held March 15-17. Putin, 71, who has been in power since 2000, is running as a self-nominated candidate. He was allowed to run again after the previous four terms were nullified by a constitutional change. Putin could potentially be president until 2036 – longer than any Russian ruler since Empress Catherine the Great.

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