July 01, 2011

Inching Election-Ward

As Russian elections inch closer, the atmosphere in the country becomes increasingly neurotic. As state officials and businessmen tread blindly towards the parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections in March, they are on the lookout for any sign of which way the wind blows. Will Putin be the chosen candidate for the new six-year term? Will Medvedev? Will it be a totally new person?

Both leaders have stubbornly refused to say anything about their re-election intentions and, in the calm before this electoral storm, even the silliest political statements and campaign manifestations are unleashing political squalls.

Which creates a perfect environment for artists and pranksters. They can capitalize on the anxiety, fear and uncertainty (despite leaders’ assurances that everything is business as usual) to promote themselves and add a bit of spark to Russia’s political life. Or maybe this is all part of a larger plot, where street art and cartoons are being used to facilitate someone’s Kremlin power-grab.

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