Install

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

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

POWER PLAY: Duma Vote Can Fracture Family Unity




We do not talk about politics in our family. We just never do, even though both my sisters and I work in media-related fields. Here is why.


My twin sister is not planning to vote - she will go to her dacha for the weekend as she always does. It is not that she does not care. In fact, our latest phone chat shows that she does f a little.


We discussed last Sunday's "Sergei Dorenko Program" on ORT, in which he slammed Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov again f as he has done every Sunday since campaigning began. She says she believes the accusations heaped on Luzhkov. But didn't she know many of these things before? After all, stories I myself have written revealed f with substantiation f many of the same things Dorenko off-handedly chucks out about the mayor. Yes, she knew these things, but now that it's on Russia's prime television station, hereyes have opened.


As a result, she says she may vote for Zhirinovsky f if she votes at all.


"Why, for Christ's sake? Why the clown?" I asked.


"At least he is funny," she said. "I see him, and he makes me laugh. Everyone else produces just dirt. Zhirinovsky improves my mood."


If she was going to skip voting or throw her vote away, perhaps I could still convince her to cast a vote for mayor.


"Listen, when I was doing my 1997 investigative series on Luzhkov, my car was stopped by two police cruisers late one night. They pointed a Kalashnikov at me, and so we stood face to face for an hour and half. Whenever I made any turn as if to get into the car to drive away, the guy put his finger on the trigger, clearly showing that nothing would stop him from shooting. It was a clear message to stop my investigations or I would be in trouble."


Will she at least vote in the mayoral elections? No. She still thinks her vote will change nothing.


My older sister lost her job at the mayor's television channel, TV Center, over my Luzhkov stories. She never tried to talk me out of doing the stories, but she was not happy about losing her job. And she will likely vote for Luzhkov's Fatherland despite all that happened. Why? Probably because she dislikes everybody else even more. And also because she probably blames me or her stupid immediate supervisors for getting fired rather than the corrupt system of Moscow city government. After all, life in Moscow is pretty comfortable, and she probably believes Luzhkov should be given credit for at least that.


My mom just turned 80. She knows life. She says she will vote for the liberals of the Union of Right Forces because they are young and have time and energy to change the country. She does not care too much about their ideas or beliefs. Her life taught her not to trust any of that. But what about corruption attributed to liberals already in government? She just says that the authorities have never, ever been clean. She just simply does not want to give her vote to those who she knew in her past.


They say it's hard to make predictions in Russia. Yes, it's never easy in a society so lost and divided that one family will cast so many different ballots this Sunday. But as a popular Russian saying goes, "It is our motherland, son. And I do not have a better fatherland for you, just this one, son."


Yevgenia Albats is an independent, Moscow-based political analyst and journalist.