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Russian voters pressed to vote
| Neil Buckley
Posted on 02/29/2008 7:36:33 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
Russians are coming under intense pressure to vote in Sundays presidential election amid apparent official concerns that the result is such a foregone conclusion that turnout could be embarrassingly low.
Communist and extreme nationalist candidates have been allowed onto the ballot perhaps to make the Kremlins man look like a mainstream moderate
Dmitry Medvedev is set to coast to victory in spite of enjoying limited popularity when Vladimir Putin, the president, made him his chosen successor three months ago. After in-depth coverage by state media, polls show Mr Medvedev, Russias first deputy prime minister, now enjoys more than 70 per cent support.
But there has been little real electioneering Mr Medvedev did not step down from his post to campaign, but ensured that his official duties saw him criss-cross the country during February. With his only opponents comprising communist and nationalist has-beens and a little-known liberal who has praised Mr Medvedev, Russian imaginations have not been set alight.
So local authorities are organising campaigns ranging from ensuring employees vote at their workplaces to entering voters in lotteries offering prizes including cars. Analysts say regional governors, now presidential appointees rather than elected officials, are desperate to impress Mr Medvedev.
Trends we saw in [Decembers parliamentary] elections are being repeated in full. There is no less pressure, said Lilya Shibanova, director of Golos, a non-governmental organisation monitoring the poll.
The most widespread practice, requiring voters to obtain absentee ballots allowing them to vote not at local polling stations but in locations where they can be watched and counted by managers, appeared to have been extended since December. One shop owner said tenants at a Moscow shopping centre were instructed by management to obtain absentee ballots to vote at the centre. After several failed to do so, their shops were barred from opening until they did.
At the capitals Dorogomilovsky food market this week, public announcements called on stallholders for their convenience to obtain absentee ballots and vote at the market.
All students are being told to take absentee ballots and vote at booths at the universities, said Alexei Novoselov, head of the liberal Yabloko party in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals. This is happening at all budget-funded organisations. Elena Savitskaya, a television editor, said Yekaterinburg authorities had brought forward the start of Orthodox Shrovetide celebrations from Monday to Sunday so municipal pancake parties could be used to urge people to vote. Russian media reported that Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk had done the same.
Russias Central Electoral Commission did not respond to requests for comment, though its head, Vladimir Churov a 1990s colleague of Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev said international criticism was part of activities directed against the Russian Federation.
TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: lowturnout; presidentialelection; russia
And neither Hillary or Obama could identify him him which they both thought was funny.
posted on 02/29/2008 7:41:48 AM PST
(I owe everything to George Bailey)
Russia's experiment with democracy was short indeed. For some reason Russians seem to prefer to live in tyranny. Oh well, people get the government they deserve.
posted on 02/29/2008 8:34:03 AM PST
Why bother to vote? The same is happening here.
posted on 02/29/2008 10:51:25 AM PST
(When hopelessness replaces hope, it opens the door to evil.)
You wouldn’t believe how bad politicians can get if they have no fear of being voted out. Our politicians are bad, but thats because the people voting them into office are idiots. Just imagine if our politicians could do anything they wanted after they are elected though. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The difference between democratically elected politicians and dictators is the difference between limited power and absolute power. In other words, democracy doesn’t mean we get better leaders, it means we get less powerful ones that can’t use and abuse us to the same degree dictators can use and abuse their citizens.
posted on 02/29/2008 12:38:43 PM PST
"Russia's experiment with democracy was short indeed."
Those who managed "shock-treatment privatization" during the 1990s ensured that the word "democracy" to an average Russian means life in an impoverished, crime-ridden and crumbling society, such as Russia was throughout most of the 90s. Who really lost Russia?
“Those who managed “shock-treatment privatization” during the 1990s ensured that the word “democracy” to an average Russian means life in an impoverished, crime-ridden and crumbling society, such as Russia was throughout most of the 90s. Who really lost Russia?”
‘Impoverished’ and ‘crime ridden’ can describe any period of Russian history. It takes more than a decade to create a civil society capable of sustaining democracy, especially after the damage 70 years of socialism did to civil society and morality. The Russians, as always, impatient and impulsive, choose a dictator that promised safety and security in exchange for their subservience. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin “Those who would trade freedom for safety deserve neither freedom nor safety”. As always, the Russian people lost Russia.
posted on 03/07/2008 8:01:34 AM PST
"Impoverished and crime ridden can describe any period of Russian history."
Not really. There were periods of relative prosperity, especially when compared to the periods of marked decay. Its obvious to the majority of people who lived in Russia during both timeframes, but not to most of the Americans who are generally born into prosperity in the most prosperous country in the world, take that very fact for granted and thus find it easy to judge the choices of others. The grim realities of the early 90's made most average Russians pine for Brezhnev's 70's, otherwise known as the "stagnation era"
in Soviet history. There are various degrees of authoritarian societies, and not every dictator means a return to the mass sweeping terror days of Joseph Stalin. So given a practical choice, most people would choose to fulfill the immediate survival, safety and security needs (Maslow hierarchy, anyone?) before reflecting upon the need for an abstract "freedom".
"hoose a dictator that promised safety and security in exchange for their subservience. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin Those who would trade freedom for safety deserve neither freedom nor safety."
What lofty words! I'd only wish to see these ideals being practiced more often than cited. So when was the last time you
had to make "a sacrifice for freedom" (and yes, that includes the sacrifice of the immediate prosperity, safety and well-being of your family too, not just your own!) I don't believe anyone born in the USA for the past 100 years had to make these kinds of choices. Both world wars did not touch the United States territory or its civilian population and yet it is so easy for Americans born for several generations into immediate safety, stability and prosperity to judge others, who make choices towards these very immediate needs. If given a choice between the "freedom" of places like Mogadishu or Afghanistan and a moderately authoritarian society, such as Franco's Spain during the height of his rule or even late-day USSR (Brezhnev era) I would choose the latter. Because I know I have a better chance to adapt and even prosper in those conditions, but not in any war-torn, disease infested, rule-of-anarchy setting.
“So given a practical choice, most people would choose to fulfill the immediate survival, safety and security needs (Maslow hierarchy, anyone?) before reflecting upon the need for an abstract “freedom”. “
People who think like you are what is wrong with humanity. Living under totalitarians is societal suicide. It doesn't just kill individuals, it kills all that makes life worth living. It kills hope, compassion, and ethics, and leaves society a cold and inhuman shell.
It can take generations for a society living under communism to recover. Some never will. Russians have always loved dictators. There is, apparently, little if any desire for individual freedom. If people want to live in slavery, then they deserve what they get.
” I don't believe anyone born in the USA for the past 100 years had to make these kinds of choices.”
So you think all those soldiers who have died fighting for freedom during the last hundred years did so for fun huh? My disdain is incalculable.
posted on 03/10/2008 7:15:30 AM PDT
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