In the past six months, the name of Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar) as a possible participant in the upcoming presidential elections in our country has been often mentioned in various media and social networks. But I have never publicly expressed such an intention.
In January 2018, I had a meeting with a group of deputies of the National Assembly in the New Athos Monastery, who tried to convince me to engage in politics and run for office in the elections of the President of Abkhazia in 2019. But I refused.
However, it was precisely this meeting that prompted me to write thoughts about the present situation in Abkhazia and what we, citizens of the country, need to do to change the situation. At first I thought that it would be a small article, but in the process of work the amount of collected materials grew and I have written several articles. At the moment, six major parts of these reflections, perceived by readers with great interest, have already been written and published. I hope soon I will complete this work (it remains to write three more sections), and it will be published in the form of a book.
In the summer of 2018, the same deputies of our first Parliament and a number of other young politicians returned to the conversation about the prospects for my candidacy for the presidency of Abkhazia in 2019. From that moment, in view of my Abkhaz upbringing, Christian convictions, personal respect for elders and respectful perception of their opinions, I have ceased to be so categorical in my refusal.
When, in December 2018, the “Общее дело” (Common business) socio-political movement was created, rumors appeared that it was allegedly being created “under Archimandrite Dorotheos”. However, I did not attend any meetings of this organization and did not participate in the work of the movement and do not accept it. There are reasons why I do not intend to engage in politics with the majority of the participants of this movement. However, I have the same attitude towards any other active political parties, social movements and individual political figures.
In order to engage in politics, to think out and draw up a program of reforms and the future development of Abkhazia, I have enough knowledge, experience, strength and recommendations of my two employees in HMA, online resources available for the transmission of ideas and communication with various representatives of our society.
By the end of 2018, I made a decision: if I stand for the presidential election, I will do it exclusively as an independent candidate. At the same time, I determined a number of necessary and obligatory conditions for fulfillment:
- Not fake, but real democracy and politics as opposed to the usurpation of power and frankly “dirty” politics. Unfortunately, public policy in our time has degraded, dropping to a banal bargaining between politicians and voters. Politicians seek power even not for the sake of “great glory,” but solely in order to gain access to the state “feeder”, so that they can gain money quickly and “protect” their personal business interests. The second ones are content with “small businesses”, for example, in the form of laying a small section of asphalt and water pipe, installing a transformer, etc. The result of this bargaining is always the same: politicians live happily ever after, eating “whole bread” and the lower classes (voters) live poorly. My beliefs are different. Politics was created by the best minds of mankind for completely different purposes: for the welfare of all people, united in various forms of coexistence. There must be at least a desire for this.
- The presence of not a sample, but a well-thought-out and real election program, with which it is necessary to familiarize the voters in advance. Actually I am already doing this: since August 2018 six sections of my work entitled “Abkhazia in the modern day. What to do?” has been published. In each section, I analyze the situation in Abkhazia and offer my readers my vision of reforms, from my point of view, our country is in great need of them. According to the web analytics of social networks and websites, people took great interest in the sections of “Politics”, “Human resources and management” and “Economy” (up to 7,000 readings!)
- Regarding the nomination of an independent candidate: in accordance with the RA Constitutional Law “On the Election of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia”, the right to nominate presidential candidates belongs to political parties and groups of voters. If a group of voters nominates a candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Abkhazia, then an initiative group of at least 10 people should be created, which in turn should collect signatures of at least 2,000 potential voters in support of its candidate. So, in the case of my participation in the presidential election, I represented the collection of signatures as follows: I intended personally to meet with each of my 2000 voters who support me, to talk with each of them to find out what motivated them to support my candidacy.
- The submission of a declaration on the income and property of a candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Abkhazia is mandatory, even if this is not required by the RA Law on the Election of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia. I can do it now. The source of my income is the monthly salary (with the payment of the relevant taxes) plus cash bonuses. As chairman of the HMA Council and head of the HMA publishing department, I get 22,500 rubles per month. As a senior researcher of Abkhazian Institute named after D. Gulia – 5 200 rubles. Plus annual cash bonuses: for four holiday services (3,000 rubles each) – 12,000 rubles and for holding free lectures at the Theological Lecture Center of the New Athos Monastery – 30,000 rubles per year. My annual income is 374,400 rubles. 26,928 rubles are withdrawn as income tax and deductions to the Pension Fund (HMA) and 6,792 rubles (Abkhazian Institute). I don’t have property (due to the fact that I have a monastic way of life and constantly live in the New Athos Monastery) (except for a bicycle bought on my personal funds in 2015, its cost is about 20,000 rubles).
- For me it is important to go on the principle of progressive, positive development. This implies a refusal to participate in the senseless election campaign using the so-called modern political tools. Simply put, this implies the refusal to deceive the voters or their bribe, to reduce political debates and the intention of convincing voters to incline them, using various closed groups and anonymous commentators on social networks. I asked my friends on Facebook not to enter into a dispute with anonymous people in various closed groups in order to “protect” or “justify” me. I do not demand that everyone respect me or even love me! One well-known Greek lawyer was asked: “Do you have enemies and opponents?” And he replied: “A person who does not have enemies and opponents is an indifferent person!” The reason – why I refuse to respond to attacks on my address, especially in the space of social networks, I will explain with the words of prof. O. Senkovsky: “A lot of people know that I never respond to comments that may concern me in various magazines and newspapers. I respect people and I think they are able to assess the dignity and purpose of these comments better than me.”
- If I nominated my candidacy as a candidate for the President of the Republic of Abkhazia, I was going to announce the names of key figures of the future government of Abkhazia before the elections (I didn’t discuss this question with any of the candidates I proposed).
Summarizing what I said, if I participated in the presidential elections of the Republic of Abkhazia in 2019, I would follow the following principles: “Honesty is the best policy” (George Washington), “Fewer words, more deeds” (Emmeline Pankhurst) and “Freedom and power bring responsibility” (Julius Robert Oppenheimer).
In March 2019, I began to notice that people who tried to convince me to take part in the presidential election began to distance. I don’t know why it has happened.
I have never been “ fluffy and obedient”! I always follow my principles and beliefs (even if they are wrong)! And I never played backstage games! Never intrigued! But everyone who tried to convince me to engage in politics knew my personality well.
Recently, I found out that our Parliament seriously intends to discuss the issue of depriving representatives of the Abkhaz diaspora in the elections of the President of Abkhazia. That is, Abkhazians, in fact, permanently residing outside Abkhazia, may lose the right to vote on the elections for the President of Abkhazia. I think this is an insult for our brothers and sisters who live outside Abkhazia, including against their will!
All of the above, as well as my own conviction that was finally formed during the two weeks of Lent, prompted me to take a decision:
- I do not intend to be engaged in political games and say “όχι” (“no”) to my participation in the election of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia in 2019 as a candidate. To tell the truth, I didn’t have a desire to get involved in the presidential race.
- At the presidential elections of 2019, I will vote against all candidates. This is my decision. I will continue to vote “against all”, until the current political elite of Abkhazia is forced to retire and we will see the new political figures.
- I will continue to work over the book “Abkhazia in the modern today. What to do?”. I hope that my view on things, my proposals will change something in the minds of modern Abkhaz politicians and voters. And today’s article will be an afterword for this book.
I apologize if I led someone into temptation with my publications, speeches and commentaries. I wish all of you Happy Easter!
20 March, 2019