Getting young couch potatoes to the polls

Russia's well-known 'Nasha Russia' ('Our Russia') comedians have joined the campaign trail by releasing a series of videos designed to bring out the Russian youth vote. They are trying to change the traditional image of Russian politics, old bureaucrats a

In one of the trailers two rappers convince a cynical viewer to come out on Sunday and cast a vote. In another a comedian says that non-voters are like vegetables.

The comedians are fighting a crisis in youth politics in Russia, with one poll saying less than a fifth of 18 to 24-year-olds will definitely vote on Sunday. That’s even worse than in mature democracies like the U.S. and Britain.

At a photo shoot for Maxim magazine in Moscow, the stars explained why young people need to join in.

“It’s like choosing a class president at school. They’ll either be your friend or, if you’re asleep in the back row and miss the ballot, it’ll be someone you don’t like,” said Misha Galustyan, a 'Nasha Russia' actor.

But the head of the liberal Yabloko party’s youth wing told Russia Today young that people will only be engaged through new policies, not stunts or propaganda.

“Young Russians need politics in action, live debates,” commented Ilya Yashin, President of Young Yabloko.

Experts accept that a different approach, such as the camps and parades staged by pro-governmental group Nashi, has mobilised disenchanted youngsters.