Monday, March 10, 2008

Russia Voting

I am presently in Russia and have watched the voting live in Ekiterinenburg and on TV throughout Russia. It is a moving view, especially when compared to how voting is viewed in the US.

In the weeks leading up, on all channels and on billboards were signs urging everyone to vote, to do their duty of citizenship. Even the Patriarch of the Holy Russian Orthodox Church came out on TV to tell believers they have a duty as citizens.

On all the channels were debates and policy statements by the main four candidates.

As voting started, Sunday is a holiday and is labelled as a holiday for voting. That's right, voting day isn't something you do or don't do but is treated as a holiday with concerts and balloons and merry making. Right now I'm watching on TV a huge concert on Red Square in Moscow in celebration of the voting day. Nationalistic and patriotic songs by the best artists of Russia, no globalist elitest crap here, none. A huge sign hangs over the stage: Rassia Vperod (Russia Forward). In tis whole crowd, during the concert, without body guards, Putin and Medvedov (winning with 66%) have just walked out inot the snow, amongst the gatherd crowds and the crowds are cheering. They look like two ordinary guys in leather jackets. They've come up on stage and to the cheering crowds. Again, no obvious body guards.

Medvedov just thanked all the people who voted for him and then thanked all the people who voted for his opponents as they have all done their duty. "Togather we will now go forward to victory for Russia." Putin has given a speech that the will of the people has been set and it is the duty of all the parties to work togather for what is best for the country. The crowds are chanting his name.

Polling stations were set up everywhere people go: in hotels, in shopping centers, schools, everywhere and people were not assigned one specific place, so they could attact people. For first time voters, gifts were given out. Drinks and food for people as they waited. Whole families coming out with children. Attendence is well over 60%.

Compare this to the US on next November.

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