`I cast my vote for those who love Russia as much as you love England'
Monday 20 December 1999
The voters emerging tended to divide into two kinds. Those prepared to be open with a foreign journalist had generally voted for Western-leaning liberal parties. Others were more cryptic, like the old man who said: "I have voted for those who love Russia as much as you love England. We were allies ... but now ... good old England does not support Russia." He was affronted by Western criticism of Moscow's solution to the problem of terrorism in Chechnya. His comment suggested he voted for the new Unity Party, endorsed by the Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin.
Moscow's inner-city districts tend to be inhabited by thosewho think of themselves as the intelligentsia. Thus Samotechny Lane seemed to be producing a strong vote of confidence for Yuri Luzhkov, who is hoping for a new mandate as mayor of the capital. And for parliament my neighbours were voting in droves for Grigory Yavlinsky's liberal Yabloko Party. Alexei, a student, chose it because he liked a broadcast in which Mr Yavlinsky had asked: "If, over several years, a person goes on insisting that two plus two equals four, does that make him obstinate or principled?" Sofia, a middle-aged woman in a Persian lamb coat, and her daughter Natalia had also voted for Yabloko for that reason.
Another possible solution for a Russian disgruntled with Boris Yeltsin's reforms but not wanting to return to communism is to vote for Fatherland- All Russia, the bloc supported by Mr Luzhkov and led by the former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov. But nobody I spoke to had done so.
An out-and-out Kremlin opponent is likely to vote Communist but stereotypes can be misleading. Not all Communist supporters are elderly: Zalina, a journalist in her 30s, said she had voted for a nationalist linked to the Communist Party because her Orthodox priest had advised her to do so.
And not all pensioners are Communists. Galina Alexeyevna, so impoverished that she eats only bread, had voted for the Unity pro-Kremlin party. She liked Mr Putin, not so much for his Chechnya policy but because, at 47, he is relatively young. "We need someone like him instead of an old man who, as soon as he takes the top seat, starts to think it is a throne and he is tsar and God Almighty."
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
Three-year-old boy accidentally shoots dead his mother in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as she changes her younger daughter's nappy
Michael Brown shooting: Driver smashes into crowd as protests erupt across the US during a second night of unrest
Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Required skills include SQL querying, SSRS, u...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...
£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...