Russia: Duma Election Notes

Global Voices Online
Monday, December 3, 2007

According to the early official results, president Vladimir Putin's United Russia party has won a landslide victory in the Dec. 2 general elections.

Below is a tiny fraction of the recent election posts by Russian bloggers, translated from Russian.

LJ user brazzaville posts a joke:

Two people meet:

- Who are you voting for?
- United Russia.
- Oh, okay, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to.

In the last sentence of her post, brazzaville may or may not be revealing her voting preference, through what may or may not be an allusion to one of the contenders in this election - Grigory Yavlinsky's Yabloko ("Apple") party:

I'll eat an apple now and then go cast my vote.

LJ user maliar shares his plans for the post-election future:

When it gets unbearably bad, I'll move into my friend-lenta [LJ friends' feed]. There's civil society in here, and freedom of speech, and democracy, and the absolute victory of SPS [Nikita Belykh's Union of Right Forces].

SPS and Yabloko are not expected to get past the 7-percent eligibility threshold in this election.

LJ user lit_wonder posts this report from her polling station in Moscow:

Civil Duty

At the polling station, there's a line for cheap pastries. They are also selling silver and imitation jewelry there.

Observers don't look older than 18.

A woman is making a scene: "Why are you writing me down, you've written my number down and now you'll be able to trace down who I've voted for! I wanted to [vote], but now I'm not going to!"

No one wrote down my number - but I'm not making a secret of it: [I am] for Yabloko.

In a comment, LJ user vladimir_morf writes about who the observers are most likely are:

First- and second-year students. Paid 2,000 rubles [$80]. A bus takes them there and a bus takes them back. Food is included.

LJ user favorov explains his voting choice:

I'll vote for SPS, though it's not as easy for me as it was four, eight, 12, or 16 years ago (no matter what [SPS] was called then).

Because this is how I've always done. Because this is where [Anatoly Chubais] is. Because I do not see a better option. Because someone somewhere has completely lost it, and I'd like to drop him a hint.

As for the rest of it:

Lately, there's been one thing that's beginning to frighten me: logic has disappeared from the regime's actions. The logic that I can understand, that is - I disagreed with them on certain things before, but I could always understand their reasoning.

I don't understand why Putin is so scared, why [United Russia] is overreacting like this, why they are strangling SPS, who needs such an exaggerated image of the enemy.

The only possible - though not universal - explanation is that the West and [a collective Sechin], acting spontaneously together, have chased [Putin] into the corner.

I still hope - even though it's getting more and more difficult to have hope - that he'll leave. I'm positive that he wants to leave.

Something along these lines.

LJ user puschaev_y posts this comment to favorov's entry:

Don't you think that he really cannot leave [...] - and one of the reasons is that he needs guarantees that [Mikhail Khodorkovsky] will remain in prison. And he's the only person who can provide such guarantees to himself - and only if he stays, one way or another. Otherwise, he risks switching locations with [Khodorkovsky]. Basically, the year 2008 was predetermined by the year 2003 [the year Khodorkovsky was jailed].

LJ user mcmamus posts a photo of a rather huge United Russia's campaign ad, seen on the election day at Manezh Square in downtown Moscow. LJ user kuteev, in a comment, reports that such ads have not been taken down all over the Russian capital, in violation of the election law.

LJ user ervix shows off a smiley that he put in the United Russia box on his ballot (see photo).

LJ user karimova responds, in a comment:

Up until this moment, I did not believe in the existence of the people who vote for United Russia.

On her own blog, karimova writes:

I text-messaged the family we are helping and asked: "How is it going? Did you go to the polling station?" The head of the family replied: "Yes, we did. I've voted for United Russia, because I'm a member of this party and I'm obliged to."

Damn. They live a half-hungry life, their house is half-ruined, the state is throwing miserable bits their way. They are now re-registering disability status for their boy, and that's why they cannot count on getting pension money in the next few months. If it hadn't been for the volunteers with their humanitarian aid, I can't imagine how they would've survived.

The conditions they live in are nightmarish, a child with oncology should not live in such quarters. In addition to this, they've got a grandmother there who can't get up from her bed, and the toilet, please excuse me, is outdoors. I decided that we should somehow try to get them a new house next year. That we should write to the governor, demand something from the local authorities. I asked one experienced person whether it is true that the officials might respond that since the boy is severely ill and would die sooner or later, they have no reasons to give them a new house. Is it possible that they might respond this way? "Yes, they might." This is how they respond more often than not.

Why are they voting for United Russia? I don't understand this.

It's making me feel utterly discouraged. Volunteers and charity foundations have to mend the holes created by the state, and people who are suffering and need help don't even understand what's going on.

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