Those who protest that civil liberties are being eroded or at least being chilled don’t know how good they have it. First, Hugo Chavez calls those who vote against his constitutional changes “traitors”, and now this.
The Kremlin is planning to rig the results of Russia’s parliamentary elections on Sunday by forcing millions of public sector workers across the country to vote, the Guardian has learned.
Local administration officials have called in thousands of staff on their day off in an attempt to engineer a massive and inflated victory for President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party. Voters are being pressured to vote for United Russia or risk losing their jobs, their accommodation or bonuses, the Guardian has been told in numerous interviews with byudzhetniki (public sector workers), students and ordinary citizens.
Doctors, teachers, university deans, students and even workers at psychiatric clinics have been warned they have to vote. Failure to do so will entail serious consequences, they have been told.
Analysts say the pressure is designed to ensure a resounding win for the United Russia party and for Putin, who heads its party list. The victory would give him a public mandate to maintain ultimate power in the country as “National Leader” despite being unable to stand for a third term as president in March.
I love my civil liberties as much as the next guy, but when the hyperbole comes out against Bush, let’s just remember what real curtailing and threats look like. Fight for those civil liberties, but just keep your perspective.
[tags]Vladimir Putin,Russia,United Russia Party,dissent,civil liberty[/tags]