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Light Side Last Updated: Feb 14, 2008 - 11:46:26 AM

Satirical Look at Rally for Presidential Candidate
By Arseniy Vaganov, Gazeta 13/2/08
Feb 14, 2008 - 11:45:16 AM

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Judging by the participants and scenario which characterized the first rally, which took place on 3 February in Yekaterinburg, nothing has changed since the autumn actions of support for Vladimir Putin, which were popularly christened "Putings" (as opposed to "meetings").

In organizing the first mass action in support of its candidate, the Sverdlovsk Oblast United Russia branch was true to its principles -- above all that it should be mass. Although it was Sunday, all 1,100 seats in the Yekaterinburg Palace of Youth were full. According to a Gazeta.ru source at the administration of Governor Eduard Rossel, there were some 400 people from Yekaterinburg in the hall and the rest were bussed in from the Oblast. The job of creating ovations and waving flags fell to the spectators in the front row. After every exclamation from the stage of "Onward, Russia!" this crowd jumped out of its seats and waved its flags.

The speakers appeared on stage strictly in nomenklatura order: Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel, Yekaterinburg Mayor Arkadiy Chernetskiy, and the mayors of the oblast's main towns spoke using old slogans: "Putin's plan is Russia's victory!" and so on. They said more or less the same thing.

The governor told the assembled crowd that this election is very important and that "the United Russia party has nominated Dmitriy Medvedev as president." From Rossel's further words it emerged that this choice had all the same been made by Putin. Whatever the case, "Russia is very lucky that one president has served his term but provided a replacement." Recalling Putin's promise to agree to be prime minister, Rossel finally noted Medvedev's competence and accomplishment.

Yekaterinburg Mayor Arkadiy Chernetskiy, it seemed, was just happy.

"We listened to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's advice with such attention and such respect. And when we heard that he was passing the baton to Dmitriy Anatolyevich Medvedev, we all sighed with relief," the mayor said, and the audience clapped.

According to Chernetskiy, "the Vladimir Putin and Dmitriy Medvedev tandem" is the best way of retaining the "previous course."

BOTh officials emitted some shrieks: "United Russia -- Vladimir Putin -- Dmitriy Medvedev." They were repeated by all those who spoke afterward. However, as an expression of love and joy it was also permitted to say "for Medvedev, for United Russia, for the previous course," without mentioning the name of the still-current president.

Valeriy Savelyev, prominent Yekaterinburg United Russia member, owner of a large holding company, and candidate for deputy in the Sverdlovsk Oblast Legislative Assembly, tried to express his delight in new artistic forms. He gave those assembled the gift of a four-line poem of his own composition:

"Fifth number on the list is no accident!

(the poet was mistaken; Medvedev is fourth on the list - Gazeta.ru)

"Our candidate Medvedev is ahead:

"We'll do the job and get top grades.

"Number five will lead us to victory!"

Those present honored the poem with applause. During last year's "Putings" there were other artistic approaches. The Urals folk choir sang a ditty: "United Russia has a firm guarantee -- President Putin has headed the list of the party."

But that was not all. The speeches of the hierarchy supporters were accompanied according to all rules by concert performances with patriotic themes. The Volga-Urals Military District's military orchestra gave a fervent rendition of " Dubinushka," the Izumrud Urals folk instruments orchestra performed the theme song from the Hollywood blockbuster "Mission Impossible," which put those present on their guard. But Gazeta.ru's source says that the concert program was agreed with the governor's administration.

One of our neighbors in the audience trustingly whispered: "Look, the army musicians have been paid today.... You see, the drummer is on stage. He does not play without money, and since he is in the set-up today, it means they have been paid."

Representatives of national diasporas spoke last: Ukrainian, Bashkir and Tatar. Albert Abzalov, a member of the executive committee of the World Congress of Tatars and a deputy from the Oblast Legislative Assembly chamber of representatives, spoke about a curious national trait: "If a Tatar is told: 'Go back!', he turns around 360 degrees and then goes onward again. Russia, onward!"

Feeling the end of the event approaching, the least steadfast supporters rushed toward the cloakroom. We had to speculate that these were the townspeople. All the others were waiting for the buses.

Source:Ocnus.net 2007

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