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Russia: Last Words Before Pre-Election Silence

This post is part of our special coverage Russia Elections 2011.

The Internet has done for the Russian opposition what the endless negotiations have not been able to accomplish for almost a decade: making a unified decision on who to vote for. Or, to be more precise, who not to vote for.

It seems that through digital discussions on whether to vote or not in the December 4, 2011, parliamentary election (see detailed analysis of the election options discussed by the bloggers), users have finally chosen the option proposed by blogger and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, recently chosen by the Foreign Policy magazine as #24 in the 2011 Global Thinkers list: to vote for any other party but PM Vladimir Putin's United Russia.

The next question is who to vote for then? There are all sorts of answers.

A cartoon comparing a ballot box to a paper shredder, highlights the common distrust towards the election. Illustration by SphinxTheGeek on Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

A cartoon comparing a ballot box to a paper shredder, highlights the common distrust towards the election. Illustration by SphinxTheGeek on Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Friday, Dec. 2, is the last day when campaigning is legal. Bloggers shared their views on the upcoming vote – and their voting plans.

Popular blogger Drugoi [ru]:

Иными словами, в стране создана работающая на нефтяной трубе модель полицейского государства, погрязшего в коррупции и воровстве, с самой примитивной, тоталитарного характера политической системой — «одно государство — одна партия». Я наблюдаю за этим уже несколько лет и настал такой подходящий момент, когда можно хоть как-то выразить своё отношение к тому, что получилось у правящего режима.

Поэтому, я пойду на эти выборы и проголосую. Не «за», а «против», т.е. отдам голос любой другой партии, кроме «Единой России». Другого выбора мне не оставили. Остаться дома или испортить бюллетень, значит сыграть на руку жуликам и ворам и потерять возможность в дальнейшем судить о происходящем в стране. Это моё маленькое право и большой гражданский долг. Присоединяйтесь!

In other words, in our country they've created a model of a police state that works via an oil pipe and is stuck in corruption and thievery, with the most primitive, totalitarian political system – “one country – one party.” I've been observing this for several years already, and the appropriate moment has come when there's a possibility to somehow express my attitude towards what the ruling regime has produced.

This is why I will go and vote this time. Not “for” but “against” – I will give my voice to any other party but United Russia. They haven't left any other option for me. To stay home or to waste a ballot means to play for the crooks and thieves and to lose the chance to pass future judgments on what's going on in the country. This is my little right and a huge citizen responsibility. Join me!

Mikhail Zadornov, an anti-Americanist comedian, proposed to vote for the communists [ru]:

Но если коммунисты наберут более, чем раньше голосов в Думе, они всё-таки смогут противостоять тем, кто чувствует себя сегодня неприкосновенным. А потому вовсе потерял совесть. Россия с её практически однопартийной чиновничьей системой – это конец света в одной отдельно взятой стране.

But if the communists get more votes than before […], they will be able to confront those who think they're untouchable. Those who have become shameless because of it. Russia with its practically one-party system – it is the end of the world in one given country.

Kirill Rogov [ru], a journalist, believes that A Just Russia should be the voters’ choice:

главное, что надо понимать про предстоящее голосование, это то, что власти Российской Федерации находятся за границами правового поля. […] Они не заботятся правдоподобными (соответствующими закону) объяснениями своих действий. Они выдумывают от балды поводы наезда на “Голос”. Они гонят наблюдателей. Мэр Москвы смело говорит, что ему нечего стеснятся того, что мэрия и партия – одно. Пусть не стесняется, но мы помним, что это не соответствует Конституции. И что мэр находится вне закона.

Это понимание – самое важное. И оно есть ответ, нужно ли идти на выборы. Нужно. Но не как на выборы. На избирательные участки, мне кажется, нужно идти как на митинг. Чтобы показать свое фэ или хэ.

The most important thing one has to understand about the upcoming vote is that the authorities of the Russian Federation are outside of the legal field […] They do not care about convincing (legitimate) explanations of their actions. They're inventing arbitrary reasons for attacks on “Golos” [election monitoring association, more about the current situation is here]. They chasing away the observers. Moscow mayor bravely says that he is not ashamed of the fact that the mayor's office and the party – is one and the same entity. Let them not be ashamed, but we remember that it is not constitutional. And that the mayor is an outlaw.

This understanding is the most important thing. And it is the answer [to the question of] whether we have to go and vote or not. We do. But we should not treat this as an election. We need to go to the polling stations, I think, as if we are going to a rally. To show your boo or meh.

There were, of course, bloggers, who urged to vote for United Russia. Robert Schlegel, one of the youngest MPs in the United Russia faction in the Duma, also offered advice to the voters. The promo clip for the party he belongs to creatively hijacked the slogan ‘party of crooks and thieves’ that refers to United Russia. The video entitled “Vote for the party of crooks and thieves” suggested that the slogan did not reflect the reality, as United Russia has done a lot for the country:

Later, however, unsure of the success of his postmodern idea, Schlegel wrote:

Хм. Какой там говорите лучший сервис для поиска новой работы? :))))

Hm. What do you say is the best service to search for a new job? :))))

This post is part of our special coverage Russia Elections 2011.

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