09 March 2012

Democracy in Action, Putin style

Here's some first-person news, from a friend in Germany:


One hears lots of stories, but here is a rather direct one.

Hayrik, the husband of one of our programmers, was born in Dagestan (a part of the Russian Federation) and most of his family live there.  His father works in a state-owned food-preparation company which supplies food to state elementary schools. This last Sunday, for the presidential elections, the company management requested from the staff that they come to work, in relation with the elections.  Nothing too surprising so far; in European countries, it is not unusual for schools to be used as polling stations, and for teachers to be recruited as polling stations assistants.  The link here was a bit more distant, but the workers figured that since their job loosely involved schools, and this was Russia, well..

Once the workers arrived at work however, they were put in a bus and driven to the polling station, told on the way that "they surely knew whom to vote for".

After voting, they were driven back to work, and they were given a form, on which they had to fill their name, their passport number, where they had voted, and whom they had voted for.  The management then collected the filled-in forms, and sent them back home.

So far the story stops here. And there might of course never be any follow-up, as presumably most or all of the workers indeed knew whom to vote for, and even better how to best fill the form afterward.

One would of course not really need to be a die-hard cynical person in order to imagine that if this happened in a small state-owned civilian business, located in a secondary city of a non-prominent Russian state, similar events might have happened in other Russian places, in other businesses or institutions whose staff's pay depends more or less on the Russian state.


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