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Podium polemists wanted

Podium polemists wanted
Russian authorities are looking for lecturers to promote stable development and to polish up the images of various provinces ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections.

Russian daily Kommersant reported the news on Wednesday quoting the website that accumulates all Russian government tenders. According to the newspaper, the authorities in the Eastern region of Udmurtiya are currently looking for a group of lecturers to explain the importance of the stable development of the country and also explain the ideology of the Russian authorities to the masses. Other regions have posted the target plans of promoting their work and values in the media and outdoor advertising.

The desired lecturers must have humanitarian or academic background, they will work in labor collectives and organizations and teach patriotism and love for the motherland to young men and women. They must also support the stable development of the region and the country in general, and also tell the population how the authorities work to improve the living standards. The authorities are planning to organize a total of 298 lectures and have allocated a budget of 500,000 rubles for this task. The tender also reads that special attention should be paid to municipal districts that will have local polls on the day of national parliamentary election on December 4.

Other regions have also announced tenders for similar works. For example, the authorities in the Tver Region are ordering internet banners and videos worth 700,000 rubles in order to promote the regional motto “Tver land is the source of Russian soul”. The Far Eastern Maritime Region is ordering advertising videos worth 2,580,000 rubles in order to explain the importance of the forthcoming APEC Summit to local residents and to the rest of the Russian population – the videos will run on major federal channels.

The expert analysis of the socio-political situation is an even bigger article in the budget expenses. Moscow City Authorities have allocated 21,400,000 rubles for the task and this is more than even the tender by the Presidential Administration which plans to order the monitoring for 750,000 rubles, with subsequent analysis for 900,000 rubles.

The Central Elections Committee announced the largest budget for the research – it plans to spend 3 million rubles (just under US$100,000) to study the motivation of the voters to participate in the elections or not, and also the effectiveness of the Russian mass media.

All analysts and pollsters agree that the current parliamentary majority United Russia will secure the majority of seats in the parliament again, though opposition politicians and bloggers call upon the population to pay more attention to violations during the elections. In latest anonymous initiative the bloggers spread on the internet the “voting instruction” that explained how the voters should deceive supposedly corrupt elections officials: tell them by phone that they were not planning to attend the polling station and then show up unexpectedly at the end of the day to disclose that their names have already been used and tell this to monitors from opposition parties.

Bloggers also suggested that the voters must not ignore the voting even though the chances for victory for opposition were zero. They said that even those who are politically indifferent should attend the ballot stations and vote for any other party than United Russia, as this would worsen United Russia’s result, while uncast votes are distributed proportionally among parties attaining over five per cent of the vote, according to Russian electoral law.