Russia elections: the personal side of voting

Elections are serious business. At the same time there is a personal story whether it be an ordinary citizen who bravely volunteered as an observer or a minister from the highest levels of government. Often it is difficult to separate the personal from the political when public figures are involved. But for this report we’ll try.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock it is likely that you know that Russians went to the polls on Sunday to vote for the Duma (lower house of Parliament). As a member of Yahoo’s Russia/Eastern Europe “Answers Team” we’ll field some common questions from Yahoo readers:

Did the president vote?

Yes, he voted in spite of snow flurries and cold weather.

(The President and Svetlana Medvedeva arrived at polling station #2634 in Western Moscow.)

Did his wife vote?

Yes, Svetlana Medvedeva is an outgoing personality and wouldn’t miss a chance to be out in public with her husband and best friend. They do a lot of things together, including voting.

(Wonder what is taking her so long in that booth? She is voting for United Russia, right? Right?)

For whom did they vote?

The United Russia Party, the ruling party. Sixth district, their registered address.

Did their son vote?

No, unlike Belarus where dictator Lukashenko’s illegitimate son, Nikolai (or Kolya) voted in front of a proud Papa and TV cameras in the 2010 election (the brat was born in 2004), the Medvedev’s son, Ilya, is 16 and the minimum voting age in Russia is 18.

In 2003 two Duma deputies attempted to have the voting age lowered to 16 but the bill didn’t pass.

(Ok, together on the count of один-два-три)

Did the President’s pets vote?

We don’t think so. Likely not, as the president is very proud of the aquarium in his office which he tends to personally. It would be viewed as fishy had they were allowed to vote. Besides, in the all-Russian census last year the president told the young census taker that he couldn’t name them all–and it would be very hard to obtain proper voter registrations without a name. Naw, they didn’t vote. Well, we don’t think they voted…

Dorofei, the Medvedev cat however, has been known to get himself into a lot of trouble. That is exactly why they had him fixed/castrated or whatever it is called these days. He sports the reputation of being a feline hooligan of sorts. Could Dorofei have found a way to vote? Hmm, he was mentioned in the census interview–wonder if Dorofei has a passport?

Final thought: polling station No. 2634 was equipped with automatic ballot counting technology. It would be nice if every Russian vote was handled with the same care and security.