Four independent candidates attempted to register for the 2008 Russian Presidential Elections. There was a requirement of two million votes to legitimize each candidate. Though some achieved these numbers, none were successful in registering. The collection includes ephemera from the campaigns of three independent candidates: Vladimir Bukovskii, Oleg Shenin, and Mikhail Kas'ianov.
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This small booklet includes a short biography of Bukovskii, his political manifesto, an interview, and various campaign documents (mostly statements and announcements). Bukovskii’s biography covers his exile from the Soviet Union as well as his opposition to the First Chechen War. His manifesto opens with what seems to have been his main campaign slogan “Rossiia na chekistkom kriuke” (Россия на чекистском крюке /literally 'Russia is on the Chekist's hook', i.e. Russia is under the boot of government thugs). This slogan likens Russia’s security services to the Cheka, the early Soviet secret police force, thus recalling Bukovskii's dissident history. Included is Bukovskii’s appeal, delivered in November of 2007, to promote a Dissenters' March (Marsh Nesoglasnykh) protesting the Russian establishment as murderous and autocratic.
This black and white paper flyer features a picture of Bukovskii and a short biography that describes him as a “dissident, political prisoner, writer, biologist, politician” (диссидент, политзаключённый, писатель, биолог, политик/dissident, politzakliuchennyi, pisatel', biolog, politik). The other side of the flyer proclaims the same slogan (referencing the Cheka) as the booklet, and entreats readers to support Bukovskii's official nomination. Although Bukovskii ultimately obtained the required number of signatures to register as an official candidate in the presidential election, his candidacy was rejected because he held a British residence permit and had not lived continuously in Russia for the previous ten years.
Of the three flyers, two are black and white on plain paper, the other glossy and in color. Shenin promotes himself as a Union revivalist candidate, promising to join Belarus with Russia, and bring about the rebirth of Russia as a unified state. He also promises “Building a society of honest work and social justice” (построение общества честного труда и социальной справедливости /postroenie obshchestva chestnogo truda i sotsial'noi spravedlivosti) and “A healthy way of life and the end of the alcohol-narcotic genocide” (здоровый образ жизни и прекращение алкогольно-наркотического геноцида/zdorovyi obraz zhizni i prekrashchenie alkogol'no-narkoticheskogo genotsida). Shenin asks readers to support his nomination, which ultimately gathered sufficient signatures but was rejected because he failed to provide a certificate from his employer when filing for candidacy. Shenin called this a ridiculous premise for disqualification, saying that he had already retired at the time of filing.
A card sent out in honor of Defender of the Fatherland day. The card has pictures of Russian military equipment, Kas'ianov shaking hands with military officials, as well as one of him in his office. Text includes his biography in bullet form, including the time he served as Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and his candidacy in 2008 when, “After gathering the signatures of 2 million citizens in his support, his registration for the Presidential election was denied on far-fetched pretexts” (собравшему 2 миллиона подписей граждан в свою поддержку, под надуманными предлогами было отказано в регистрации для участия в президентских выборах/sobravshemu 2 milliona podpisei grazhdan v svoiu podderzhku, pod nadumannymi predlogami bylo otkazano v registratsii dlia uchastiia v prezidentskikh vyborakh). The election commission had disqualified Kas'ianov after determining that approximately 13% of the signatures he collected were invalid.
A blue leaflet distributed as part of the effort to collect signatures to register Kas'ianov as a presidential candidate. The back of the leaflet reads: “To prosperity through freedom” (Через свободу—к процветанию /Cherez svobodu—k protsvetaniiu). His policy proposals include judicial independence, visa-free travel for Russians visiting the EU, and restoring normal relations between Russia and other countries.