A Drunk Electorate

Ads for “Putinka” vodka summons readers to vote for United Russia.

Advertisements for a the “Putinka” brand of vodka, which practically urge a vote for the party in power, technically do not brake electoral law. At least that’s what representatives of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) told a Sobkor®ru correspondent.

An electoral expert has noted that much of the campaign propaganda for the United Russia is indirect, and veiled, which makes proving its presence nearly impossible. He joked that in this situation, the campaign is more likely against United Russia than for it.

In this case, the ads come in the form of large posters, with a photo of a vodka bottle, and bright rebate prices (roughly $2.60 or €1.83 per half-liter bottle). Huge letters stand on the side of the bottle: “Everyone to the elections!” and “We’ve made our decision!” They have appeared in the “Perekriestok” (literally, “intersection”) chain of supermarkets.

Specialists at the CEC have asked the Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS), which regulates advertising, whether the images are improper. Officials at FAS replied that they don’t monitor political ads, and they don’t have authority over indoor advertising.