On the eve of the vote on the amendments to the Russian constitution citizens undergo agitation for a notorious project, aimed to prolong the terms of Putin’s presidency. During the information campaign strong concepts, deeply rooted in the conscious of the society, were used.
While Russian legislation prohibits any involvement of individuals under 18 years old in an election process, agitation in favor of the amendments to the main law is accompanied by the violation of this law. In some Russian cities on billboards were hanged posters with a photo of a little girl dressed in military uniform and holding a bunch of carnations. In a corner of the banner a writing stating: “Let’s protect the memory of our ancestors. Constitution 2020” is placed. The clothes of the girl makes reference to the memory of the World War II and heroic deeds of the Soviet soldiers — the theme is a good choice for any political power in Russia willing to gain the support of the society. The writing on the banner does not make it clear what actually threatens this kind of “memory.” However, the main goal is reached: a recipient gets filled with the trust to the project he is proposed to vote for.
Another billboard demonstrates the image of a smiling girl: she is holding a kitten in her arms, and the writing in the corner says: “Responsible attitude towards animals. Constitution 2020.” While looking at this picture, a recipient makes sure that new amendments to the constitution certainly promise something positive because smile on the child’s face and sunny landscape behind influence the perception of those whom the agitation is targeted for by ensuring a feeling of safety and comfort.
“We will provide affordable medicine. Constitution 2020” — is written on the billboard with a picture of happy newborn.
Probably, affordable medicine is something Russia lacks of. The issue of citizens’ financial ability to pay for medical services matters as long as there is anything to pay for. The healthcare system of Russian Federation raises concerns. During the quarantine Russian doctors extremely needed personal protective equipment, healthcare workers were forced to reuse gloves and protective masks, were prohibited to address mass media; medics often were fired by employers after attempts to sound the alarm — these facts previously revealed BBC in their media coverage. Ventilators that Russia has sent to the US, as a paid “humanitarian aid,” were technically insecure as they recurrently caused fires in Moscow’s and St. Petersburg’s hospitals. Finally, the very fact that the vote on the amendments is held during the ongoing pandemic challenges the intention of the authorities to care about the health of Russian citizens. Considering all mentioned circumstances, the campaign slogan should have sound like: “We will provide
What does the slogan “responsible attitude towards animals” or “we will provide affordable medicine” say about the extension of Putin’s presidency? Nothing at all. Meanwhile, this is the most important “amendment” that will allow him to stay in power till 2036 and guarantees immunity from prosecution for a life long period for several Russian officials, including the president himself. Agitation deliberately diverts voters’ attention from crucial issue that promises no positive changes for the citizens, but on the contrary will only strengthen position of oligarchic structures in Russia.