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Celebrities and the religion of President Putin of Russia | Election Issues


In 2003, Yulia Volkova, half of the Russian band TATU, performed Not Gonna Get Us, a popular song about two schoolgirls in love, at the MTV Music Awards in California.

Photographs of the event were seen millions of times around the world, and according to Vice magazine, the event “brought a wave of feminism forward”.

Last year, Volkova appeared in a very different film.

In it, he spoke of his desire to run against the State Duma, the Russian Parliament, and the ruling party of the United Russia, in the upcoming September 19 elections.

“I’m going to Duma and United Russia to make sure that real decisions, not just rhetoric, are made for the benefit of many of our citizens,” Volkova, now a 35-year-old mother of two, said in a May 13 video, playing a Christian Orthodox cross.

The film was filmed by United Russia officials from the western part of Ivanovo, known for its poverty and marital insecurity.

Volkova lost an unknown man.

Volkova (left) wanted to stand for Russia’s upcoming elections in the ruling United Russia, but failed in the first round. [File: Andrej Isakovic/AFP]

But his failure has not stopped some Russians who want to become politicians – especially on a ticket against Vladimir Putin, either with United Russia or so-called “systemic opponents”, a three-party anti-behemoth party, but without criticizing the Russian president.

The Kremlin welcomes the celebrities with open arms.

Their smiles appear on television, billboards and handwriting contrasting with breaking the opponent which escalated before the Duma elections.

But freedom fighters are skeptical of the pro-Kremlin’s media coverage.

“I think they will not protect the citizens of Russia, but will pursue their own interests,” said Violetta Grudina, a detective in the northwestern city of Murmaks, who was arrested, interrogated and accused after announcing her decision to run in the by-elections.

“This is a way for the Kremlin to create havoc, to create electoral fraud,” Grudina told Al Jazeera.

Few wishes

For celebrities, Duma is not just starting out as mayor, ambassador or presidential campaign.

It is a safe haven for many words, a source of information and other things, including numbered envelopes, says a campaign manager who worked in Washington, Moscow, Berlin and Minsk.

“In the West, politics is just a job, a job, but in Russia, politics is a culture,” said Vitali Shkliarov, a co-founder of Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders. he urged his opponents in Russia, and was arrested and tortured in Belarus after working with a rival in the presidential election last year.

Prominent Russians want to be politicians “not because they want to serve, but because they want to have a better life,” he told Al Jazeera.

Putin has explicitly resolved his opposition by arresting dissidents and cracking down on dissent [Sputnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via Reuters]

While Pro-Putin’s weakened parties are urging investors to increase their credibility, United Russia is seeking its help to ensure the inevitable victory, experts say.

Inevitably, for years the party has been accused of voting – by election observers, protesters and hundreds of thousands of people who have met in the last decade at the largest protests since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“They are not afraid to lose, because the Central Election Committee will steal their victory,” Gennady Gudkov, a former opposition lawyer, told Al Jazeera.

“But it’s important that we allow ourselves to be somehow in front of people,” he said.

Artists and war criminals

This year’s wannabe political series is a group of motley drivers and also includes a rapper who calls himself Purulent, real TV stars and several singers ap.

One is Denis Maidanov, whose patriotic songs include “Russia, forward!” and “Who Are the Russians?”

“Many parents say they teach their children with my music, and this is a sign of their trust,” he told the Komsomolskaya Pravda group in early June.

Another legislator is Zakhar Prilepin, a writer and former member of the National Bolshevik Party who promoted ideas that the Kremlin had previously banned as “dangerous” – occupying Crimea and Russian-speaking territories in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Prilepin’s 2006 book Sankya was hailed as the “manifesto” of anti-Kremlin youth and, in 2008, formed a patriotic party and anti-corruption blogger Alexey Navalny.

But after Moscow annexed Crimea and assisted Russian dissidents in Ukraine, many National Bolsheviks pledged Putin’s allegiance – and joined the insurgency.

Prilepin led a group of “volunteers”, served as a “mentor” to a separatist leader who was shot dead in 2018 and admitted to committing war crimes.

“I led an army that killed people. Many of them. There is no other army in Donetsk that can match the size of my army, ”he said in an interview in 2019.

‘Strong Criticism’

Last year, Prilepin formed the For Truth party with Orthodox actor and priest Ivan Okhlobystin – who wants to reinstate the death penalty in Russia and give Putin a crown as a “monarch”.

He later enrolled world-renowned individuals.

Steven Seagal, a Hollywood movie hero of the 1990s, joined Truth in December.

He received a Russian passport from Putin in 2016 praising him as “one of the living leaders in the world” and a supporter of the Crimea.

In May, Truth was joined by A Just Russia, a pro-democracy group, opposed to Putin. It is the weakest of the three “systemic opposition” parties with 23 seats in Duma’s 450 seats.

However, they could lose them in September because only 5% of Russians want to vote for the party, according to a March and Levada Center poll.

‘Veterans’ peace

United Russia, meanwhile, looks lighter for years to come from the surviving war.

It has thousands of members, offices in every city and town, and critics call it the “superintendents,” a national system that forces government officials, educators, and medical professionals to vote for whomever they want.

In May, it formed an “alliance” with the Donbas Volunteer League that fought for secession.

Andrey Turchak, United Russia’s secretary general, told a “former” conference on May 10: “We depend not only on your support, but also on your participation in the election.”

“We must ensure that we do not only fight, defend our country alone in war, but also that we can act peacefully,” Union General Alexander Borodai replied.

Borodai is best known for his two-month term as “chairman” of the “People’s Republic of Donetsk” in 2014.

Ukraine has accused him and his “government” of killing, kidnapping, deporting and kidnapping them.

But Borodai feels good at home – and wants his closest relatives to get involved in politics.

“Russian volunteers need to take over,” he said in a video posted on the United Russia page.


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