There seems to be a lot of sputtering, backfiring and smoke in the air here in Moscow right before the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for this Sunday, but the engine seems to be giving enough steam to make the machine move forward…
I’m not going to make this a politicized blog, that’s not my goal here. I don’t want to make any forecasts saying who will win, by how much or if it makes any difference at all. A coworker and I published a large piece on the billboard campaign in Russia already, but we couldn't put everything in the material. Some of the things we had to pass over just wouldn’t fit into the style of the article, though we saw many campaign slogans that brought chuckles.
On my way to work over the past week, I got a huge chuckle out of the Central Election Commission’s posters that they have been slapping up around Moscow calling for people to vote on December 4. The real chuckle was that they don’t just put these posters up on bus stations, lamp posts and walls…they’ll use any space that their poster will stick to.
Take for example this incredible “sticky place”…on the side of trash cans on the street with the inscription: December 4 – Every vote is important! Does this not bring to mind that you should be casting your vote and tossing it in the garbage? I personally got a humorously negative feeling over the CEC’s overzealous call for participation.
December 4 – Every vote is important
One may think his or her vote won’t count anyway, so you might as well trash it. Is that true? I don’t know, but I hope that’s not the overall atmosphere in the elections this year here in Russia.
But who am I to speak? I’m an American who has lived under Russian lawmakers and presidents since Yeltsin. I can’t vote in Russia, so I don’t have a say. On the other hand, I don’t vote in the U.S. elections either. What a bad American I am! First of all, I don’t live in the United States and don’t feel I should make a decision for my “fellow compatriots.” They’d have to live with my decision and I don’t even pay American taxes. (I’m exempt from U.S. taxes because I pay taxes in Russia – there’s this law against double taxation.) So I feel I shouldn’t stick my nose in Americans’ business. Secondly, I’m from that odd-ball state of Oregon. You know, the ONLY state in the United States that doesn’t have polling stations and all Oregonians cast their ballots by SNAIL MAIL. Yes, they vote and put it in an envelope, slap a stamp on it and send it on its way.
If I were to do that, you could well imagine how long my vote would take to get to where it needs to go. They’d get it sometime in March…long after the elections are over. And I can’t really see that my vote could change the whole picture in the United States. Just imagine, presidential elections are held in November, the president takes his oath in January…and then in March, they make an official statement that one more vote just came in and the other guy won! Now they would have to “unoath” the current president and swear in number two all because of my vote. That is if I voted.
By the way, I will be covering the elections here in Russia on December 4, ultimately destroying my upcoming weekend. But that’s the price you pay for being a journalist I suppose…
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