Russia: Non-Vegetable Voters and Other Election News

Global Voices Online
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Two weeks remain before the Russian Duma election, and the presidential vote isn't too far, either. Below is the first quick review of the blogosphere's election coverage.

TOL's Elections in Russia blog translates Russian bloggers' views on what kind of people may be responsible for the pro-Kremlin United Russia Party's extraordinary expansion:

They say this party already has 1,7 million people. Approximately. At least they say so, and probably it is true. Who are these members? Parasites, cynics and idiots. [...]

Also at TOL's Elections in Russia, a link to a YouTube video of the commercial whose purpose is to inspire the electorate to show up at the polling stations on Dec. 2. Here's its slogan:

“The Russian constitution forbids the vegetables to vote. Don’t be a vegetable, vote!”

Moscow Through Brown Eyes writes about the "heteronormative" election ads and the ongoing "pro-natalist" campaign in Moscow:

But I can't figure out if it's an advert for voting at the ballot box, or in the sack.

Sean's Russia Blog translates a letter by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, currently serving a 9-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion, written in response to a Russian blogger who intended to either write "against all" on his ballot, thus spoiling it, or ignore the vote altogether:

[...] That is, who votes “with their feet”, still to a large degree is who votes for [the United Russia], and encourages the bureaucratic class toward despotism and contempt for the “herd.”

Therefore it is imperative that you vote not for those who evoke contempt, it’s better to vote for any of the small parties. This will be Your own clear and personal gesture: I am a citizen, I have the right to vote and will, I am not a slave and I am not cattle.

Khodorkovsky's lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, reports on one Russian party's attempts to keep the Russian president from running as another party's #1 candidate:

The Union of Right Forces has asked a court to disqualify President Vladimir Putin from a parliamentary vote next month, saying that his job gives him an unfair advantage. [...]

James Joyner of Outside the Beltway reports on Putin's "plans to use next month’s elections as a referendum on his continued dominance of Russian politics well beyond his constitutionally-mandated exit from office":

[...] Informal dominance after stepping down from power is not unheard of, with Communist China perhaps the most notable example. Still, this announcement will strengthen skepticism about Russia’s transition to democratic institutions.

Perspectives on the New Russia believes there's no clear indication yet that Russia is going to say good-bye to Putin the president:

[...] Evidence of the fact that a third term is still in the cards is the increasing number of staged meetings (Putingi as they are being called) where people are lobbying for a third term. Also, there still has been no mention of a successor - time is growing short and I do think that the Kremlin (and Putin) are keeping their options open in order to be able to respond to events. [...]

Eternal Remont writes about the "Puting" phenomenon, too:

At this point, it almost feels like slow motion dentistry. A new group called “For Putin” claims to have 30 million signatures begging the President to stay on as “national leader.”

National Führer? Sweet lord. We could have picked something less tacky. [...]

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