Saturday, November 17, 2007

Russian Election Fever

Russia is currently gripped in election fever, or at least that's how the government is trying to portray it. In a country with with virtually no political freedom, it's extraordinary how much money and time is spent trying to convince people they actually have a real choice.

These photos are taken from around Moscow this afternoon (it's only about 4.30pm but it's already dark ) and show some of the thousands of billboards sprouting pro-Putin slogans. Putin has graciously agreed to head the United Russia political party's ticket for the parliamentary elections on December 2nd, which positions him for pretty much whatever he likes once he leaves office as President following presidential elections next March.

The four-story United Russia poster shown here, located adjacent to Red Square, suggests that "Moscow Votes For Putin". The one below, located over a nearby street says that "Our Choice- Vladimir Putin". This photo also shows another of Moscow's favourite things- traffic at a standstill.

In a slightly more unsettling news, apparently Kremlin-sponsored youth group Nashi ("Ours") has been training with the Moscow police and military to flood the streets during the elections to eliminate any possible chance of a Ukraine-or-Georgian-style "Colour Revolution" during the elections (a remote chance at best in this tightly-controlled country). Apparently they have also been flooding regional schools, bars, and clubs to inform people that it is their national duty to vote for Putin. Opposition parties are banned from most media and their demonstrations (when permitted) are tightly controlled.

While I was out on the streets with my camera, I also took the chance to take some pictures of Moscow now that it's covered in snow again. Isn't it pretty?

No comments: