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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Presidential Candidates Score Grades 'A' to 'D'

Welcome to round two of the Petersburg Passages Campaign MaterialImage Scorecard.


In round one, we judged the St. Petersburg gubernatorial candidates' material, granting then-Mayor Sobchak the lowest grade and thereby foreshadowing his defeat by upstart Vladimir Yakovlev. (Of course, we did give the highest grade to communist candidate Yury Sevenard, who ended up finishing just behind write-in candidate Barney the Dinosaur, but we won't dwell on that. Political punditry is a tricky business.)


At any rate, here is our assessment of presidential campaign materials witnessed on a recent stroll down Nevsky Prospekt. Remember, grades are based solely on image: For our purposes, a candidate's comb-over hairdo is cause for greater alarm than his ambitions to invade Eastern Europe, Alaska and the Indian subcontinent.


Boris Yeltsin: Posters everywhere proclaim him "President of ALL Russians." Mock-ups of Pravda and Trud headlines show that Yeltsin wants to include the communists in his "big tent," while the "ALL Russians" reference makes him sound like Tsar Boris I. The slogan is simple, direct, means nothing, and says everything. Good sound bite. And that's what counts here. Grade: B+.


Alexander Lebed: "Truth and Order" read his posters in soothing blue letters to match his soothing blue tie and the soothing blue background.


His poster photo is nothing short of remarkable: Somehow the general conveys a look at once serious, caring, congenial, stern, relaxed, intense, reflective, confident. Not bad for a career soldier. Grade: A.


Mikhail Gorbachev: His posters remind us that he's the guy who ended the Cold War, won the Nobel Peace Prize, freed them from bondage, ended the Afghan war, united Europe, etc. The photo is passable, though he does look a bit startled, like a frightened cat. Perhaps the photo was taken in those skittish days just after the Siberian head-whacking incident. Grade: B.


Grigory Yavlinsky: There's something oddly hypnotic about Yavlinsky's posters, with their stark, off-center photo of the stern-faced candidate floating above the legend, "I choose freedom." His most visible poster in town somehow calls to mind a blend of Big Brother, Rasputin and MTV. Is there something subliminal going on here? Grade: B.


Conspicuously absent on the streets is any campaign material from Gennady Zyuganov. Has he decided to abandon the cradle of the revolution to the mosquitoes and democrats (not that there's any connection)? Or will he come roaring in with an eleventh-hour campaign blitz? If so, let's hope his efforts will be a bit more sensitive than that of one of his supporters on Nevsky, who holds a sign up saying, "Leningraders! We congratulate you on breaking the 'democratic' blockade!" Grade: D.