by Sarah Hurst
Today a hall full of Russia’s top celebrities gathered to nominate Vladimir Putin as a candidate in an election in which his main opponent, Alexei Navalny, is banned from participating. Putin has already been in power for 18 years and is planning to remain in office for another six at least, but he didn’t consider the event important enough to attend in person, and instead greeted children at the Kremlin. His spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, said that Putin will probably go in person to deliver his nomination papers to the electoral commission tomorrow.
The BBC’s Russian Service produced a report from the nomination event with comments from the participants on Putin’s absence and their hopes for his next term in office. Navalny tweeted the video with the comment, “What vile, sickening toadies. Slaves, elegising slavery. How can they look their children in the eyes?” The following is an English transcript of the BBC report.
At the nomination meeting.
Igor Krutoy – composer, singer
Polina and I called each other and decided to come ourselves
Polina Gagarina – singer
Valeria – singer
He didn’t come? I don’t know, perhaps he’ll come?
Iosif Prigozhin – producer
It’s not essential for him to be here today. He’s still with us in spirit, and we’re with him.
Iosif Kobzon – MP, singer
It’s good that he’s not here. Because with his modesty I think he’s already tired of hearing panegyrics addressed to him.
Nikolai Tsiskaridze – rector of the Academy of Russian ballet
It’s not compulsory. It’s not a performance. Don’t confuse your genres.
Sergei Mironov – leader of “A Just Russia”
The president has enough work. He’s doing what we respect and value him for.
Earlier at the Kremlin: Putin is surrounded by children in woolly hats.
Child: Is running the country hard for you?
Putin: Not hard with a country like ours. Because people like you kids live here.
Child: What do you think about the opposition?
Putin: I’m positive. Towards the healthy opposition.
Back at the nomination meeting.
Mikhail Galustyan – entertainer
Someone has to be at the Christmas party among us all. Today it’s him, tomorrow it’s us.
Viktor Sadovnichy – rector of Moscow State University
People like the Christmas party too, children like it. The president really likes children, by the way.
Q. What do you expect from Putin’s next term in office?
We expect stability.
We’re for fundamental stability.
Nikolai Yevmenov – commander of the Northern Fleet
Stability and forward movement.
Magomed Daudov – speaker of the Chechen parliament
That he defends our state. That after his fourth term, inshallah, he has a fifth, and a sixth, to the end of his life!
Categories: Campaign diary