A mocking shadow

More from last Sunday’s election in Moscow:

  • The candidate Putin reportedly voted for came third out of three in his district.
  • The leader of United Russia’s faction in the city council lost his seat.
  • Protest voters elected a dummy in one of the districts.

Non-entity candidates confusable with the real ones belong in every self-respecting encyclopedia of electoral trickery, much as body-double dummies are indispensable to movie-making and sartorial arts.

In one of Moscow’s districts, an opposition candidate called Alexander Soloviev (Solovyov if phonetically transcribed) was gathering signatures to run in the city election. Meanwhile, a pseudo-opposition party (“A Just Russia”) fielded another Alexander Soloviev, a complete unknown. (Both their first and last names are very common in Russia.) The real Soloviev was barred from running and briefly jailed for protesting the exclusion. The dummy Soloviev made it to the election ballot.

Ironically, Alexei Navalny’s team recommended voting for the fake Soloviev as part of its “smart voting” plan. It could have been a test of the thesis, “We can elect a bar stool if you don’t let our man run.” If so, the test worked.

Alexander Soloviev the doppelgänger got elected. However, he has been reported missing, and some suspect he has never existed. The latter is probably untrue, alas, but so ben trovato it makes you think of the immortal Lieutenant Kijé.

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