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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

United Russia at Gas Pumps

VedomostiA banner at a Moscow Fuel Co. gas station inviting drivers to try an "Excellent Gasoline for the Capital of [a] United Russia."
With parliamentary elections approaching, politics is not only filling media and political circles but also the gas tanks of Moscow cars.

As of last week, drivers pulling up at Moscow Fuel Co.'s chain of 71 gas stations are being welcomed to fill their tanks with a gasoline that is "excellent for a united Russia." Since there are no articles in Russian, the invitation in all capital letters could also be read as "excellent for United Russia."

The invitation sounds an awful lot like an advertisement for the pro-Kremlin United Russia political party, whose co-chairman Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov happens to also chair the supervisory board of Moscow Fuel Co.'s parent company, the Moscow Oil Co.

But Moscow Fuel Co. officials insist that they are not dabbling in big politics. They say the slogan -- which reads in full "Excellent Gasoline for the Capital of [a] United Russia" -- is nothing more than an advertisement for a new grade of gasoline, Vedomosti reported Wednesday.

Election officials are unconcerned about the slogan, telling Vedomosti it doesn't count as part of the run-up to December's State Duma vote because campaigning has yet to officially kick off.