It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.

[Я считаю, что совершенно неважно, кто и как будет в партии голосовать; но вот что чрезвычайно важно, это – кто и как будет считать голоса.]

Josef Stalin (1879-1953) Georgian revolutionary and Soviet dictator
Comment (1923)

Alternate translation: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."

Alternate translation: "I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this -- who will count the votes, and how." Quoted in B. Bazhanov, The Memoirs of Stalin's Former Secretary (1992) [Борис Бажанов. Воспоминания бывшего секретаря Сталина], regarding elections to the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

The quotation is considered dubious by a number of sources.

The phrase was used by Tom Stoppard in Jumpers (1972): "It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting."

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Sep-21
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