Politics is another topic that I don't want to include in my blog (not because that I am afraid of being shot in the neck and left to decay in an unknown pit around Moscow but Politics is the second most boring topic in Russia -the first, of course Russian TV-)
But since the elections for the State Duma will be held in 2nd December, every TV channel, every billboard and even every publication is clad with election news and unevitably Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, himself.
Let me tell you a bit about the political system of Russia. The president is elected every four years by the people and the laws are passed by a two-level federal assembly (a namely apolitical federal council and a down-to-earth State Duma). For those American idiots who still think that Russia is a communist country or Putin is a tsar, I have to tell you that Russia a democratic (!) country where every citizen can vote freely for the deputies of the State Duma. The system is very similar to Turkey, where electors give votes to parties (not to candidates) and the seats get allocated to each party in accordance to the vote precentage it gets in a region. So the main thing is to be as high up in a party's list as possible (Hurray for the party-list proportional representation mechanics as it is called) So I wasn't that surprised to see the leaders of the party on TV calling people to vote to the party. (Turkish people would be astonished if I say that Vladimir Zhirinovsky is the leader of the secong biggest political formation in Russia and he was the speaker of the State Duma, because he is rather famous of his Turkish slang and a lot of media coverage of his drunken attacks in Antalya) The individual advertisement of deputies are almost nonexistant because it is virtually unnecessary.
To this point, you may already be bored but the interesting part is that Vladimir Putin has shocked the world by addressing his choice not to violate the law of limiting the president's service of two consecutive terms and gave a pause that shocked all his worshippers and opponents (...if they are not poisoned or exiled already). A lot of alternatives were discussed from Putin proclaiming himself a leader-for-life (like all central asian leaders) to Putin residing in a fishing village north of St.Petersburg away from Moscow. Then a race of praising the leader started among the pro-Putin parties and even a rally was televised from the state channel where people and politicians literally begged Putin to stay in his post. But he eventually declared that he will not agree for a change in the legislation (although his followers would do it in a blink of an eye) and showed his support for the United Russia party which later put him in the first position in Moscow list.
I am not against or pro-Putin because as a foreigner, I have no influence on and get no returns from the future of Russia. The people practically love Putin because he has become the symbol of a rich and powerful Russia, which they have been longing since Kruschev. Maybe they are right: Why would they care for an existence of a democratic opposition when you have a better view of future, ride a foreign car recklessly with a low cost fuel, fill your shopping bags to the limit and enjoy everything the capitalism can offer to its limits.
I think it will be appropriate to refer to a study in NYC this year about the university students' approach to democracy where %25 percent of the students would voluntarily give away their voting rights for ever for an Ipod. Is this the end-of-democracy as we know it? Let people bath in the luxuries and the leaders stay in power, regardless of their politics. Why are there not any Youth of '68 where our parents marched for a change even though they knew that it had a slight chance? Now majority Russian youth care about are if their girlfriends look like Paris Hilton or Beyonce...In Turkey it is also not different. Shame...on us.