The Russian "election": how it really happened

There has been a lot of pundit talk on the Russian election (or, more accurate, “election”), including my own coming up in Reason Online. For now, one of the best commentaries on the subject is this video, called “Dmitry Medvedev: How It All Began,” made by some Russian college students for a comedy festival and posted on YouTube. (It is a testament to the complexity of semi-authoritarian Russia in 2008 that this clip was also hosted on the website of the pro-government Izvestia a few days after election.)

The clip is from the 1971 Soviet comedy Kidnapping, Caucasian Style, in which Shurik, a nerdy Russian college student traveling in the Caucasus and researching folklore and local customs, is tricked into participating in the kidnapping of a young woman by being told that he’ll be taking part in a ritual and consensual bride abduction. In the clip, “Shurik” becomes Medvedev, while the movie’s three buffoonish kidnappers (1970s’ Soviet comedy’s “Three Stooges” Vitsyn, Morgunov and Nikulin) become the three “play candidates”: the fascistic nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the communist Gennady Zyuganov, and the completely unknown “democrat” Andrei Bogdanov, widely viewed as a Kremlin puppet.

Unfortunately, YouTube clips do not easily lend themselves to editing, so my attempts to add English subtitles failed. I’m posting the video with a translation underneath, with some of the lines time-stamped to make the dialog easier to follow.

0:05: Messenger: Mr. Medvedev?
“Medvedev”: Yes, good evening.
0:18: Messenger: I have some great news for you. You said you wanted to see some ancient local rituals?
0:23: “Medvedev”: Of course, of course! It’s my dream.
0:26: Messenger: We’re going to have one in March.
“Medvedev”: Really!
0:28: Messenger: And you’ll have a chance not only to see it, but to participate.
0:31: “Medvedev”: Well, I appreciate that tremendously. What’s it called, this ritual?
Messenger: A presidential election.
0:42: “Medvedev”: Election?
0:43: Messenger: Oh, not to worry. The people want this election. The government approves too. Of course we could do it the way they do in Belarus, but custom demands that the president be elected.
0:52: “Medvedev”: Elected? Wow. That is a beautiful custom all right. Well, what’s my role?
1:00: Messenger: Collect signatures…
“Medvedev”: Signatures.
Messenger: Get nominated as a candidate…
“Medvedev”: Nominated? That’s part of the ritual too? Brilliant! Well, well — go on!
1:10: Messenger: And then the people will elect – whom?
“Medvedev”: Putin, of course. As always.
1:14: Messenger: No, no. They’ll elect YOU. From among the other candidates.
“Medvedev”: Oh, you mean there are other candidates?
1:20: Messenger: Yes, that’s what custom requires. Speaking of which – here they are now. I’ll introduce you.
“Medvedev”: My pleasure.
1:26: Messenger: Left to right: Zhirinovsky, Zyuganov and what’s-his-name, I keep forgetting – aha, got it — Bogdanov. Get acquainted.
1:39: “Medvedev”: Hi! I’m Dmitry. – Dima. – Dima.
“Bogdanov” [squeals]: Ouch! I’m nobody! I’m nothing!
“Medvedev”: Oh, sorry. Take a seat.
1:59: Messenger: They don’t have the slightest chance of winning. But don’t worry, they know what’s going on.
2:07: “Zyuganov”: Democrats! Scum!
“Medvedev”: What did he say?
Messenger: Oh, he says it all the time. Don’t pay any attention.
2:20: “Medvedev”: Oh, I get it – he’s a little nuts. [mumbles] The damn commie.
2:25: “Zhirinovsky”: Let’s blast — America!
“Medvedev”: What did he say?
Messenger: He said that if you don’t run, he’ll become president. It’s a joke.
2:39: “Zhirinovsky”: Joke.
“Medvedev”: Ah – a joke. Very well. I agree.
Messenger: Excellent. The United Russia Party will be pleased.
2:49: “Medvedev”: By the way, who’s going to be Prime Minister?
Messenger: Putin. Vladimir Putin.
2:56: “Medvedev”: But – I thought Putin was leaving?
Messenger: He just loves to be in the driver’s seat.
3:08: “Medvedev”: Oh! I completely forgot. I’m busy in March. I’m sorry, but — I can’t do it. I just can’t.
3:22: Messenger: Mr. Medvedev. Here’s the most important thing. Putin said that he really wants you and no one else to do it.
3:34: “Medvedev”: Putin told you that himself?
Messenger: Yes, he was very insistent.
3:45: “Medvedev”: All right then. Tell Putin I agree. Good-bye.
3:54: Messenger: But keep in mind – custom requires that everything must look real. Supposedly, no one knows it’s a ritual. You rivals are going to fight back. They’ll kick and scream — maybe even bite. They’ll call fo4 monitors, they’ll shout, “I’ll complain to the U.N.!” But pay no attention. it’s all just a beautiful ancient ritual.
4:11: “Medvedev”: I understand. Don’t worry – everything is going to look real. Until the election.
Messenger: Until the election.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Russian "election": how it really happened

  1. colagirl

    Glad you posted this, Cathy, even if you couldn’t add the translation as subtitles. It’s very funny and bitingly satirical–that something like this can get made and even posted on Izvestiya is a very positive sign.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ll look at this later, but I am just really glad to hear from you. I was actually quite worried for you these past many months. I hope you’re doing well.

  3. bearblue

    enjoyed that muchly! Thank you for sharing it. 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    abolish the holy roman pedophile church

    http://katolskaeuhydrahelvetet.blogspot.com/

    Please spread

    Avskaffas
    Democracy, science, etc. during the 100 years = and not abolished the non-developed, true, liberating and non-disinterested projects (to kk).
    Self (paedophilia, fine buildings, thick smack stomachs and wine as pisseriet in ancient monasteries = fin righteousness). Gamle Luther gave the course a boot and became “I protest” (Protestant).

    2000 years of skithistoria
    Original, superior, women prostitutes, genera Bora / Medicis influence of horse-trading, haggling and murder and lie and ränksmiderier on this helvetstron (cf. old Byzantine hell where bla women had influence = may well have been a female pope once)

    It may itself seek info

    Legend, prophecy (based on human empirical work and obvious prediction and conclusion = vicious helvetskyrka).
    There is no (tips on lotto and will continue with the conclusion of tex Satan takes over the horse because all I have experienced).

    Did themselves on the beach as it says in johannes revelation
    A genklonexperiment in the catacombs orchestrated by nazistpåven Råttan Benedict ( “I’m going to make a new world”)
    What world is this?

    http://culbreath.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/anthony-esolen-on-the-new-barbarianism/

    A question is who are the barbarians?

    In the Middle Ages (like hanging after all this kärleksreligion äggtjuv and fisketjuv in England and France, among others).
    Dom söp down the judgement in bla Provence (and sold the harvest expensive and lived loppan themselves).
    Exiles in Revenes.

    A righteous revenge for all paedophilia, prostitution gross (bla Russian monasteries = no sexual needs could not be performed there) and bla Catholic smaller states (Genoa tex galärflotta as a punishment and the legalization of brothels)
    It was hanging up the judgement in the trees and took just rov

    http://vinakro.blogspot.com/

    I don´t think US wins – it´s Sweden, Italy, Franch, England and China

    Us may win in short but not in long

    With the new ufo ships who will patrol our borders

    And the swedish grundlow and it´s attitudes on religion, information freedom etc

    http://strikeforcevetansvarreligionen.blogspot.com/
    Then, it is the Jewish question – many Jews in the labour movement (selling in intellectual solutions that kommunistpacket today “mass empty words without substance”).
    The same mentality today = perhaps that nature is moving towards eradication. The control of some media – and similar organizations.
    The Devil’s people (easy on eliminating).

    Count 1 million times
    What gave nybyggaranda etc

    Spider, which can kill judgement

    It was a jew girl who now is named Rebecca Lord
    She was not horny, but well on the crafty manipulation of others (Rebecca mata hari).
    She was fitted and dejected, but one day she committed suicide.
    Then came a klumpedunsröv from israeli higher uni, Haifa, and would learn empiricism but then struck schizopartikeln to, and it scratched at the robber and he pulled out a hemorojd
    it was shown to contain a worm that later destroyed a large part of the human world

    it was late in the history books
    astroillium israelis

    particle =
    nervous system has, of course, new data on databasförmåga (activates when the schizophrenia of us)
    Tex send nano-robots and religious cultural context and play on (socialpsykologi) and then endanger humanity
    threat to humanity

    http://strikeforcevetansvarreligionen.blogspot.com/

  5. Billigflug Bangkok

    This really likeable post. On the one hand it´s funny, on the other hand the whole situation isn´t. Hopefully Medvedev (btw. thanks for teaching me how to write his name:)) will be a good leader.

  6. hairi

    it was very intresting!
    Adios,
    ionic air freshner

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