Russian opposition politicians are used to finding spoiler candidates with identical surnames active against them in to voters in confuse the polls. Now it turns out that the imitators also change faces.
That’s what Boris Vishnevsky, a senior member of the liberal Yabloko party, is facing in his district in Saint Petersburg ahead of the municipal elections later this month.
Vishnevsky already knew that two of to be opponents had changed their names so that they were also named Boris Vishnevsky, and update on the common tactics of nominate a “double” around the . to split vote and deliver the victory to another candidate.
But when a district voting poster was unveiled on Sunday it showed something far more shocking: three almost indistinguishable Boris Vishnevsky’s, all balding, graying and sporting matching goatees. As a Facebook friend of Vishnevsky’s orphan out, the easiest way to spot the real Vishnevsky is that he was the only one one who bothered to wear a tie.
“This is all being done to disorient voters so they can see the fake in confuse.” with the real, and instead of the real Vishnevsky she vote for one of the forgeries,” said the real Vishnevsky in an interview. the fake, of at least newerVishnevskys was not immediately contactable for comment.
Vishnevsky’s opponents had grown their beards and mustaches for the pictures and maybe have also Photoshopped images sent to the electoral commission, Vishnevsky said. It also at least it seems so one of the candidates had either shaved his head of his hairline digitally altered for the photo.
“I’ve never seen anything” like it,” said Vishnevsky. He previously called the “doppelganger” tactics “political fraud”.
At least one of Vishnevsky’s opponents, who until recently Viktor Bykov was called, is believed to have changed his appearance is considerable for the pictures. in An official photographer used on a Saint Petersburg government website, Bykov had a full head of hair and looked years younger than the picture die submitted to the Election Commission.
Bykov’s identity was first unveiled by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and a Saint Petersburg news website published later a screenshot of a document that allegedly showed that he changed his name on 3 July. The election poster, published by Vishnevsky, confirms that: one of to be opponents was formerly called Viktor Bykov.
Less is known about the other opponent, who was formerly called Alexei Shmelev and was reported to be a saleswoman manager at a company in St. Petersburg. Neither of Vishnevsky’s opponents have publicly campaigned of have had public apparitions. Until this week it was unclear how they even looked, and it still isn’t quite clear.
Vishnevsky said he didn’t know the men motivations in run against him, but said, “I don’t think they agreed to in to embarrass like this for free.”
“Double” candidates regularly pop up up during the Russian election cycles, die surprisingly cutthroat despite the expectation that the ruling United Russia party will retain a majority in the Duma. The rising tide of resistance to United Russia and growing support for the communist KPRF apparently have the government and nominating doppelgängers can transfer off precious votes in close to contests.
The news outlet Meduza last week reported that doppelgänger candidates for the Duma ran in at least three Moscow districts, largely against communists with big chances in the polls.
But the campaign against Vishnevsky state out because his opponents legal changed their names (although the candidates still have different patronymics – middle names die usually assigned to Russian) children according to the name of one’s father), because there are two doubles in instead of just one, and, of naturally, want the men was engaged in political cosplay to the . to derail vote.
“Every time there are elections, we say these are the dirtiest elections die have ever been,” Vishnevsky said, when asked about how this campaign compared met the past. “I am sure we say the same at the next elections as well.”
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