On Wednesday, July 10 Alexey Navalny will carry a Moscow City Election Committee paper for registering himself as an independent candidate. His powerful support organization is already prophesying his victory at the polls. The opinions of Muscovites themselves is not so clear. “MK” has talked to passers-by about Navalny and his chances of winning.
For this simple experiment, we took a completely non-representative sample of 36 people. They were all doing something: one was walking along the street, another was hurrying home, another was buying an ice cream at a kiosk. There was no filtering of the respondents: amongst them were young and old, poor and rich, men and women.
The clear tendency: the older the respondent, the more retrograde the choice. Many of them would prefer Luzhkov.
Oksana, a graduate of Moscow University: “To be honest – for no one. It makes no sense whatsoever. No matter how many mayors there have been, the most normal was Luzhkov. And now? Look, I have friends living in the Southern District. All around where they live has been dug up and my friends joked: Is Sergei hunting for treasure? Generally speaking, there is a problem that all politicians face: as soon as they can smell money, all their opposition somehow disappears.”
Some passers-by refused to answer the question. Among them were employees of the local social security department and the police force.
The defenders of law and order said: “Young man, are you a little kid or what? They’ll tell us who to vote for, where to put our tick. It won’t start yet. They’ll say you are an oppositionist and will hunt you down.”
The social security workers: “Can’t you see we’re busy? Which Navalny, eh? We’re from social security!”
Indeed, such political engagement amongst government officials is predictable.
But amongst ordinary passers-by the general opinion wasn’t so divisive. Most believe that Navalny is a crook and a thief. Sobyanin has been mayor, so one clearly knows what to expect off him.
Alla Leonidovna, retired, a former employee of the Presidential Administration: “As Vysotsky used to say: a thief should sit in gaol. From the point of view of the election, this is probably not very important: I have already distanced myself from these matters, but my friends and I will vote for Sobyanin.”
Four builders vied with one another: “For Prokhorov! For Sobyanin! For anyone! For Luzhkov!”
A boxing coach and his colleague: “Well, he’s better than Putin. We are for Navalny. Well, as far as “we” goes, Sasha is not registered in Moscow. Generally speaking, though, we are fully behind of Sobyanin, if that is of any importance. It doesn’t mean much.”
The views of citizens:
“I’ve already voted for the grey haired one. It’s all the same to me whoever wins.”
“No, I’m not going to vote for a mayor: They are all crooks.”
“No, I will not vote for Navalny. I am voting for Sobyanin. I am a pensioner – so don’t bother me.”
“Navalny? Mayor? He’s a thief. And has been thief his whole life, of course.”
“I’m not going to vote. They are all thieves.”
“If he gets through the first stage of voting, Navalny will win. He’s a good bloke. I’m impressed by him. For Alexei and the future.”
“I’m not going to vote for anyone. The choice for an honest citizen is to boycott the election. They are all crooks, Navalny and all the rest of them.”
That’s it. It should probably lower the bar of expectations. People unfamiliar with the protest movement continue to give their vote to state nominees. Navalny fans, please do not take offence. Alas, I too was hoping for a different picture.