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Medvedev’s Coronation, Protesters Broken Up

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

guardianrussia.jpgIn an election that had been orchestrated by United Russia (i.e., the Kremlin) for former law professor Dmitry Medvedev to win, and win in high numbers, things went off without a hitch.  Leading up to the election there was little dissent in the newspapers and television and radio stations, no large protests were ever covered by the press, and huge campaigns to get out the vote; this all lead to high voter turnout during the elections and Medvedev wining over 70% of the vote.

However, in the bleak and cold landscape of Russia, things are never what they seem.  In post Soviet Russia elections (except the first, that is) having always been used to legitimate those already in power.  The Kremlin would orchestrate the news and politicians to say and do certain things, those things would be done, and the people would follow, with a little bit (or a lot) of voter fraud on the side; and this election was no different.  Just as Yeltsin chose Putin, Putin chose Medvedev.

In many parts of the country, voter turnout was incredibly high.  Kommersant reported that  voter turnout in certain areas was an astronomical 80% to 86%, and these were in areas were voter turnout was over 100% in the previous Duma elections.

Over 100%?  Hmmmmmm…looks like a few fetuses were voting en utero.

The Moscow Times reports that the European Union and other observers claimed that the elections were neither free nor fair.  Yet it would have made little difference to begin with since legitimate opposition candidates (and there were many) were banned from taking part in the elections, blacked out from making appearances on the media, and had their political rallies and protests squashed by the police.

One common practice that Other Russia recorded, was:

nicknamed the “carousel.” Sergei Dovgal, a candidate to the local municipal assembly, explained what he saw in the North and North-East Moscow precincts: Between two to seven buses full of students and residents of Moscow’s suburbs drive between voting stations. The passengers approach an electoral representative, showing their passports, which have a mark of identification – in this case, a pencil check mark in the box showing marital status. The official then notes down each passenger’s last name, then hands then a voting ballot. The whole procedure then continues at the next polling station.

Protestors ammassed in Moscow but were broken up and arrested because they “had no permit.” Yet pro-Kremlin youth were allowed to march on, chanting pro-Putin and Medvedev chants, as they made there way to the American embassy.  The youth are another target of the Kremlin, as they fund them to go to pro-Kremlin camps, reminiscent of the old young Soviet cadre camps and Hitler Youth squads.

The St. Petersburg Times reported:

“Russians are very brave people; Russian history has many examples of our courage and our generation will prove it yet again by showing resistance to this unjust regime,” Limonov said. “Just as eight years ago Yeltsin sneaked Putin into Russian politics through the back door, Putin has now swindled us with Medvedev and tricked people into voting for this obscure third-rate bureaucrat who has done nothing for our country.”

Image From:
The Guardian (U.K.)

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