First, a joke posted yesterday on a Russian website:
- So, 50?
- Nah… 50 is too little…
– That’s a bit too much…
(In case you are missing the cultural context, Russians would assume at this point that the parties are discussing whether to have 50g or 100g of vodka each.)
– Then how much?
– Let’s do 64. Modest, not too round, realistic.
– Deal, I'll call them. Hello, Churov? Ok, here’s the deal. Write “United Russia – 64%”
It does seem like the question that occupies many Russians after the weekends' election is “Why 64?” If you are making up a number, why not go for a constitutional majority? Is that some sort of pretence at the democracy?
Overall, though, the “elections” went as expected. The election committee gave United Russia (pro-Putin) 64%, for some strange reason just a bit short of constitutional majority. The Communists (the only remaining opposition party) got quite obviously less than their support rate, but roughly what everyone thought the election committee would give them. The only two other parties that made it to the parliament were Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democrates (the official clown party, pro-Putin but with a twist), and “Fair Russia” (also pro-Putin, basically in competition with United Russia to be “the” pro-Putin party).
Venezuela had its election the same weekend. The referendum to give Chavez the right to run again got defeated narrowly. I didn’t know Venezuela was still a democracy, but apparently it is.
Venezuela: 1, Russia: 0.
To quote Lermontov, “this would be very funny if it wasn’t so sad.”