On April 16, 2017 Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a well known and out spoke opponent to the Putin regime, announced the new chairman of the Open Russia Movement, Alexander Solovyev (or Soloviev in some other translations). Khodorkovksy’s decision is based on his desire to work for the opposition candidate’s Navalny’s presidential bid. Now the fate of Open Russia is in the hands of Alexander Solovyev but who is he?
In a recent interview with Open Russia following his appointment, this biography was provided:
Alexander Solovyev graduated with honors from the Faculty of World Politics of the State University of Humanities. He taught at the same faculty on the basis of one of the Institutes of Russian Academy of Sciences. Since 2012, he has worked in the State Duma and since 2013 he has been the assistant to State Duma Deputy Dmitry Gudkov. He has been the technical author of the bill on the return of direct elections of governors and mayors and so on. Since 2016 he has been a member of the movement “Open Russia”, and in 2017 – the coordinator of the project “Public Law”.
Numerous western sources have replayed the same fact about Solovyev – that he was the assistant to Deputy Dmitry Gudkov in the state Duma of the VI convocation in 2011. However the dates do not line up to be accurate with Solovyev’s bio on Open Russia. If you were the chairman of an organization wouldn’t you ensure that your bio was correct on your organization’s website if nowhere else? That is why I am standing behind the Open Russia bio to fact check this.
State Duma Deputy Dmitry Gudkov continues to make headlines. In February of this year he announced his desire to run for mayor of Moscow in 2018. If Gudkov does run he will be the only candidate on the ticket, as of recent, that openly opposes the Kremlin. In an interesting ‘tip of the hat’ to his mentor, on the same day that Solovyev was confirmed as the new chairman of Open Russia, the organization voted to support Gudkov in his bid for mayor in 2018. When asked whether or not Solovyev saw the danger in supporting such a candidate he replied, that he didn’t see the danger in Open Russia giving its support to Gudkov since the decision was based on a vote and done in the open.
Open Russia has rapidly expanded since it first convened in November of 2016. It has become one of the most rapidly growing grass roots organizations within the Russian borders corralling roughly 800 civil activists to a common cause. It has also inspired many other movements both in Russia and abroad. The future of Open Russia has no end in sight as more and more Russians are drawn to the #НАДОЕЛО (#Enough) campaign.
This bright future is in Alexander Solovyev’s hands now.