Barbie and Bogatyrs: The First Day of Voting in Russia’s Election

Newlyweds, a legendary Slavic hero and Tucker Carlson greeted voters at polling stations across Russia as the country’s presidential election began.

Here’s a look at some of the most colorful scenes from the first day of voting:

Fictional Characters

 A local resident came to a polling station in Yugorsk dressed as Cheburashka. He voted in the Russian presidential election and treated Yugorsk residents to oranges. t.me/vybora
A local resident came to a polling station in Yugorsk dressed as Cheburashka. He voted in the Russian presidential election and treated Yugorsk residents to oranges. t.me/vybora

The global blockbuster “Barbie” may not have been officially shown in Russia thanks to a studio boycott after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but that didn’t stop Barbie fever from reaching the country. A woman dressed as the blonde doll took her daughter to a polling station.

Voters elsewhere in Russia could come across the iconic Soviet-era cartoon character Cheburashka.

The presence of voters in extravagant costumes is considered a tactic for increasing voter turnout.

Musical Guests

Pro-war singer Stanislav Mikhailov performed for voters at a polling station in Omsk. 

Meanwhile, a woman in Irkutsk was unable to contain her glee and burst into song.

History Lessons

The Kremlin and Russian media often appeal to history to justify the invasion of Ukraine, drawing parallels between the “denazification” of the country and the fight against fascism in the Great Patriotic War.

 A polling station in Belgorod. Election Commission of the Belgorod Region
A polling station in Belgorod. Election Commission of the Belgorod Region

Voters in Tyumen could take pictures with a cardboard cutout of U.S. media personality Tucker Carlson, who looked shocked to receive a half-hour lecture on Putin’s vision of history when he interviewed the Russian president last month.

Putin has pointed to the medieval state of Kyivan Rus to claim that the Ukrainian nation was not distinct from Russia. The bogatyrs were warriors from the Kyivan Rus who worked their way into Slavic mythology.

But the bogatyr that greeted voters in Transbaikalia came with a different message to what Putin might have wanted, wishing for peace in a message for the “new ruler.” The Insider reported that the man was not detained for his comment.

Wedding Bells

Before the voting period started, Kremlin officials were keen to maximize voter turnout as much as possible.

Dmitry and Darya Timoshenko from the republic of Sakha wouldn’t let their wedding get in the way of casting their ballots. They were greeted with applause at the polling station.

From Underground to the Stars

 Russian cosmonauts from the ISS voted in the elections through the mayor of Korolev as a proxy. t.me/rian_ru
Russian cosmonauts from the ISS voted in the elections through the mayor of Korolev as a proxy. t.me/rian_ru

Measures were put in place to ensure Russian astronauts in the International Space Station could vote, as well as residents of Kaliningrad. 

 Election polling stations in buses at the border with the Baltic States in the Pskov region. t.me/horizontal_russia
Election polling stations in buses at the border with the Baltic States in the Pskov region. t.me/horizontal_russia

 In Buryatia, workers of the Timlyuysk cement plant came to vote wearing overalls and helmets. t.me/cikrf
In Buryatia, workers of the Timlyuysk cement plant came to vote wearing overalls and helmets. t.me/cikrf

Belgorod, a region on the border with Ukraine, has come under drone strikes and even faced attacks by pro-Kyiv militia groups during the past week.

Official buildings have also been targeted.

 Election commission members wearing protective helmets in Belgorod. Election Commission of the Belgorod Region
Election commission members wearing protective helmets in Belgorod. Election Commission of the Belgorod Region

A man in Siberia’s Kuzbass region dressed up as Spider-Man to cast his ballot.

 Spider-Man came to vote in the presidential election in Kuzbass. t.me/rusnews
Spider-Man came to vote in the presidential election in Kuzbass. t.me/rusnews

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