Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Is There Life After Drama Of Elections?

Well, it's over. The elections ended more with a whimper of fatigue than a bang of jubilation, but at least they are indisputably behind us. Along with most of the rest of Moscow, I heaved a great sigh of relief and set about getting on with the rest of my life.


Now comes the hard part. There is no rest of my life any more. I seem to have become so wrapped up in the great drama going on around me that I have no idea what to do with myself now that the pressure is, at least temporarily, off.


The world media that descended on Moscow for the election circus have departed, taking with them a bit of the excitement that kept us going for the past month or so.


It seemed for a while that everyone I had ever known or even heard of was in town to watch the show, and we old Russia hands got to smile a bit indulgently as our more cosmopolitan colleagues raced around trying to interview Mikhail Gorbachev.


My friend and houseguest Alan is off to London, and with him went my morning rehash of recent political outrages. We would spend a half hour or so over tea, commiserating and honing our views before we set off to our respective media outlets for the day's battle.


This morning at breakfast I was reduced to reading a two-month-old newsmagazine with a cover story on climbing Mount Everest.


What will I do without my nightly dose of bile as I watch the news on television and rail at the blatantly slanted coverage of events? I have had numerous arguments with Russians over this point, and always get the same bitter reaction from them: It's easy for you, a Westerner, to talk. You can go home any time you want, while the Russian press is fighting for its professional, and even physical, survival.


I do not dismiss their justifications, but it did not make it any more pleasant to sit and watch as journalists I respect manhandled the facts to present a Yeltsin-happy picture to the general public.


But the press is emerging from its election coma, and seems to be trying to act as if the past four months were just a bad dream. Who knows, it might be just a matter of months before the president's team tries to sue the "Kukly" puppets again.


I'm not sure I will even recognize Moscow without the president and the mayor grinning down at me from every angle. What will I have to look at now -- Whiskas ads?


I am afraid I have post-election-stress syndrome. I could spend the next six months sitting on a sofa, staring at a blank wall and playing tapes of Zhirinovsky press conferences for entertainment.


Luckily, my Russian friends are more resilient, and began making contingency plans even before the results were in. Last week I was asked to a dacha party, scheduled for this Sunday. The enterprising host added one caveat to the invitation: "Do not show up in the event of a Communist victory."


Why not? Did he anticipate food would be too scarce by the weekend for entertainment? Would it be too dangerous to associate with foreigners? Would we all be under arrest by then?


My friend just laughed, a bit hysterically. "See you Sunday. Maybe," he said, and rang off.