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By Sean — 10 years ago
Kommersant Vlast‘ made an funny observation about the websites of Russian political parties. Apparently the verbosity and the brevity of a party’s website is connected to their political orientation. Those on the left are more verbose while those on the right are more terse.
The most verbose is the main page for the KPRF, a whole 2273 words. Yabloko is in second place with 1237 words. United Russia and Just Russia are almost twins with 875 and 840 words respectively. The most concise site is the LDPR (unlike this party’s leader) with 409 words in all.
Forget what this says about the political spectrum. I wonder what it says about how each party perceives the attention span of its supporters?
The KPRF might want to consider turning off the verbal valve. Their site is a wordy mess. Clearly they’ve learned little about political technologies of the day. The best way to appeal to voters is not to inundate them with stuff they have to read. The days of crammed broad sheets are over. If they really want to look at an effective site, they should check out Barack Obama’s. Bright colors, smiling faces, lots of graphics and, most importantly, few words. In fact, the thing that dominates the President-elect’s page most is merchandise. Create an image. Brand it. After that what you actually say is an secondary. Now that’s political technology of the 21st century!Post Views: 543
By Sean — 11 years ago
Stalin never posed with his shirt off, but Putin’s topless poses while fishing in Siberia certainly smacks of a “socialist realism” for post-Soviet Russia. The Putin cult is no secret. Nashi’s reverence for Putin approaches the Komsomol’s love of Lenin. The new recommended history textbook, which will be introduced to Russian high schools next year, places Putin as the alpha and omega of the 21st century Russian state. If Putin’s political prowess, intellect, quick wit, and athleticism hasn’t built him up as the New Postmodern Russian Man, his pecks certainly will.
The Russian media is abuzz with opinions of Putin’s photos. Though criticism of the pictures exists, it appears that most Russians, especially women, have greeted them with approval. As the Associated Press reports, when Yevgeniya Albats said that the photos were “unbecoming of a Russian leader,” she received a barrage of emails from women expressing their love for their presidential Adonis. It’s too bad they also didn’t focus on her silly claim that “the photos were mean to enhance Putin’s personal appeal to voters–a strong signal that he doesn’t plan to relinquish power.” With a approval rating hovering at a consistent 70%, one doubts that topless photos are necessary even if Putin desired to stay on. Sergei Markov of Moscow’s Institute for Political Research summed it up simply: “He’s cool. That’s been the image throughout the presidency, cool.”
But most of today’s English reporting on Putin pics is buzz about the buzz. More specifically Komsomolskaya pravda’s article “Be Like Putin!” The article provides seven exercises for the aspiring Putinite to become just like Vlad. And they say that fizkul’turа is dead.
And the Russian media is having fun with it. In a headline, Argumenty i Fakty declared “Putin’s Torso has subdued Europe“. Numerous Russian news sites are translating articles from the Western press that look to find the hidden geopolitical meaning of Putin’s chest. London Times’ Michael Grove admitted that Putin’s chest was Russia’s secret weapon, making a direct connection between Russia’s asserting of its military muscle and Putin showing his. Grove writes:
As Putin’s careful release of the pictures of his own taut form demonstrate, the deployment of male nudity is, above all, a power play. On one level Vlad is showing us all that he’s a remarkably fit man for his age (54) and that, unlike in the decadent West, Russia’s leaders remain the physical embodiment of their nation’s vigour – classical champions in the manner of those Roman emperors who would renew their mandate to rule on the battlefield or even in the gladiatorial ring. His bare-chested peacockery is, in that respect, in line with the broader cult of Putin as his nation’s silverback – the leader of the band.
The body of the President is a testament to the body of of the country. If Putin is strong, the Russian state is strong. In the quick click of a camera, Putin’s two bodies, his corporal and symbolic, merge into one.Post Views: 846
By Sean — 11 years ago
The Russian electoral season is already unfolding like a stage performance. Putin, who we might refer to as the Director, announced the date for his troupe’s first performance: the State Duma elections scheduled for December 1. Kommersant Vlast’ has a thorough breakdown of its prediction of how the 450 Duma seats will be divided. The first thing to notice is the expectation that the number of parties represented in the Duma will drop by 10 percent. This is no doubt a result of two factors. The first is the increase of the electoral threshold to 7 percent. This along is expected to cut out 10 or 11 parties alone. The other fact is multiple. Namely, that Russian politics are a complex business, and the revamp of the electoral threshold matters most for parties already waining in influence.
To explain this complexity, Kommersant’s Dmitiry Kamyshev provides eight factors (with the number of seats at stake for each) that will determine the Duma’s breakdown: Name recognition (140 seats), political influence (100 seats), war chest (70 seats), leadership (45 seats), flamboyancy (35 seats), airtime (25 seats), past victories (20 seats), and fulfillment of promises (15 seats). No party dominates in all eight. For example, you can’t think of the KPRF without Gennady Zyuganov’s bald dome or the LDPR without picturing Vladimir Zhirinovsky flaying his arms about. This alone will get each party 16 and 14 seats respectively. United Russia on the other hand has no face, except for maybe Putin’s, and he’s one foot out the door. That said besides leadership and flamboyancy, United Russia tops in all other categories giving them a predicted 245 seats. Just Russia comes in second with 85 and the KPRF and LDPR follow with 75 and 45 seats respectively.
But as everyone knows the State Duma elections are merely a dress rehearsal for the real performance. Russian Presidential elections are scheduled for March 9, 2008. The stars have all but been officially selected, with First Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Medvedev and Sergei Ivanov leading the cast. The question is which role each will get. Last year, Kommersant reports, there were rumors that Ivanov would become the head of Just Russia, while Medvedev would lead United Russia. That makes sense writes Kamyshev since “the liberal lawyer Medvedev heading the right-center United Russia and the pro-state, pro-police Ivanov heading the left-center Just Russia” seems to correspond with political ideology. But now that Ivanov is heading in the polls, Medvedev’s starring role appears in jeopardy. Now Ivanov looks slated to lead United Russia, a move that also makes sense since “if United Russia was going to associate itself with one of the possible successors, it could only be with the one who was going to win.” Given the choice between ideology and consistency in performance, the latter wins every time. Russia is moving toward a two party system for sure, but it will be a while before Just Russia is ready for the center stage.
The only question is whether all this over planning will scuttle the authenticity of the performance. After all, manufacturing an election is easy, but making it manufactured and reflect the will of the people is a skill that I think only Western democracies have mastered. Perhaps with Putin’s keen directorial eye, the right amount of stage management, and a stellar cast, this electoral season will be Russia’s democratic coming out party. I know I will have my ticket in hand. There is nothing I like more than a good political drama.Post Views: 361