Early Morning Call To Watch Elections

APMoscow's three Starlite Diners will show live TV coverage of the U.S. presidential election throughout the night.
Whatever your views on the U.S. presidential election, whether you consider it, as Profile magazine sniped this week, a "Grand Show But Not Yet Democracy," or agree with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which said it is a process "governed by rule of law, free and professional media and civil society," the vote has been pretty hard to ignore.

With less than a week left before we find out who will be the most powerful man in the world, it's time to book your place if you want to watch the election whilst developing a better appreciation of Russia's liberal drinking hours.

With some analysts predicting a landslide for Barack Obama over John McCain, the night will be either one long celebration for local Democrats or the biggest election shock since Thomas Dewey lost to Harry Truman in 1948.

The only official election-watching party is at the Starlite Diner near Oktyabrskaya metro station, organized and sponsored by the overseas branch of the Democratic Party, Democrats Abroad.

Democrats Abroad has previously organized multiple events to encourage voter awareness, but on election night "the point is to get together, have some fun and hope for the best!" said acting country chair Andrew Hardisty.

Barack Obama
Voters of all allegiances are welcome to attend the event despite its partisan nature. Hardisty could not hide his anticipation of the "Dems" seizing victory. After all, "a lot of people who aren't Democrats will vote Democratic," he pointed out. "I'm still getting calls from people asking if they can vote. People are really enthused."

Results are unlikely to start coming in until the polls on the East Coast close at 3 a.m. Moscow time, but Democrats Abroad will be at the restaurant from midnight until the winner is announced in the morning. "I expect that people will divide into two groups. Some people will want to party the night through, while others will want to stop in for breakfast before work."

Hardisty expects CNN cameras to cover the event in the morning, so it may be best to leave before they arrive if you plan to take the day off work should Obama win.

There are almost certainly some Republicans abroad too, but the organization Republicans Abroad does not have any representatives in Moscow, and there are no official wakes, or jaw-dropping surprise parties, set for the night.

The other two Starlite Diner locations, near Universitet metro station and Mayakovskaya metro station, will be showing the election coverage, from midnight to 9 a.m. as well.

Customers can also ask to view the election at the T.G.I. Friday's restaurant at Novoslobodskaya metro station on either CNN or BBC, said restaurant manager Elizabeth Makarova.

A manager at the American Bar and Grill near Mayakovskaya metro station said viewers can watch the election there too, "unless there is some football on." He acknowledged, however, that it is unlikely that any game will be on at four in the morning.

Besides the typical expat hangouts, any place with a cable subscription, a very late bar and an agreeable manager will likely let you tune in to the election. At places with Kosmos TV, such as American Bar and Grill, ask for CNN or BBC, which are on channels 38 and 45, respectively.

If attending the Democrats Abroad event, please contact Andrew Hardisty at ahardisty@excite.com to ensure the appropriate service at Starlite Diner, 9a Korovy Val. M. Oktyabrskaya. 959-8919.