It shouldn’t be any mystery to readers who won the mayoral election in Sochi this weekend. There was just one candidate, the incumbent Anatoly Pakhomov, who had the support of the Kremlin, meaning that no other competition was even feasible (complete domination of airwaves, full resources of the state deployed, intimidation, accuasations of ballot stuffing, etc.). It’s getting to the point where one could argue that Russia could save a lot of time and money if they didn’t bother to put on these displays, which probably does more damage to the average citizen’s idea of voting than good.
However despite Pakhomov enjoying an effortless flight to victory (and the ability to dole out billions in Sochi’s Olympic Games budgets to those who helped him get there), Garry Kasparov showed up to rain on his parade. It never fails to impress me how despite having all the guaranteed advantages of crushing and steamrolling political opponents by any means necessary, United Russia and its minions have almost zero tolerance for criticism … and having Garry show up was no different.
This bit is from the New York Times:
Mr. Kasparov’s remarks began innocently enough. He made an offhand mention of Mr. Nemtsov, so subtle that it was easy to miss. Then he began to sling arrows at Moscow, saying Soviet Russia had supported Turkey at the time of the massacres.
Mr. Pakhomov, standing behind him on the podium, looked as if he had eaten a lemon.
Two minutes and 33 seconds into Mr. Kasparov’s speech, a local official stepped forward and said his time was up. Mr. Kasparov turned to the crowd with an incredulous look.
“What’s happening?” he said loudly. “I cannot speak? Maybe it’s better to be silent?”