In basketball terms we’d call it a “full court press” and there seems to be little doubt that regional officials in Russia are certainly under pressure to deliver a victory to the ruling Единой России (United Russia) Party in the DUMA (parliament) elections this coming 4 December and again for the Russian presidential election in March 2012.
That being said, politicians of all stripes are worried, with good reason, about the vast amount of technology in the hands of everyday citizens. Many citizens meanwhile have begun to label the United Russia as the “party of crooks and thieves” in a sort of populist backlash again heavy-handed politics.
In the video above, the mayor of the Russian city of Izhevsk, Denis Agashin, tells a public meeting with veterans that if voters don’t support the United Russia Party that the government will withhold funding for veterans. He promised veterans that if voters gave more than 51% of the vote to United Russia, then he would grant additional funding of 500 thousand rubles to 1 million rubles.
When challenged on the legality of his comments the mayor, unaware that his talk was being recorded said that, “If people don’t support the party that is actually doing something, what’s the point of financing them? If this is the case, it’s clear the people don’t need anything.”
After the video went viral over the Internet, General Council of United Russia Sergei Zheleznyak asserted that Agashin “had a meeting with representatives of veterans organizations on their own initiative” and “assumption about the connection of the funding of veterans’ organizations with the result of United Russia was solely Agashin’s idea and not a reflection of Party policy.
Since that video recorded meeting the mayor has been interviewed on regional television about his comments to veterans. Although there have been calls for his resignation, he was handed a fine by the Election Commission.
Back on 14 September Mayor Agashin had invited popular local bloggers in for a breakfast meeting with the mayor and council members at which time he announced projects for new roads and housing, hoping to build popular support for his initiatives.
It was reported that several bloggers and media representatives walked out of the breakfast meeting before the conclusion.
Another popular online video shows election officials in the northern city of Murmansk promising the equivalent of $50 to each voter who casts a vote for United Russia.
Last week some students at the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology (MIPT) began to text and twitter that they had been told that failure to vote for the ruling party would mean that the long-anticipated building of a new dormitory will be held up indefinitely.
(Editors note: The Mendeleyev Journal does not endorse any political party in Russia and respects the right of the Russian people to choose their own candidates. That being said, we do wholeheartedly commit to reporting current news and election trends leading up to the official elections.)