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Thread: Bringing the Bern to Moscow...

  1. #1
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011


    Bringing the Bern to Moscow...

    MOSCOW—The campaign headquarters for the youngest candidate in the history of Russia’s presidency, 36-year-old Ksenia Sobchak, was packed, and yet more fans tried to squeeze their way in from Petrovka Street, a few blocks from the Kremlin. They were there just to catch a glimpse of the pretty socialite and hear her talk—a rare crowd in a rare scene for Moscow, usually sleepy and empty during the New Year holiday week.

    With passports in hand to certify their identities, people lined up to sign a paper supporting Sobchak’s registration for the presidential election in March. Bundled in a mink coat, Russian Senator Lyudmila Narusova pushed her way in, a passport in her hand as well. Kuznetsky Squad, a teen band, rapped a campaign song for the crowd with lyrics that sounded slightly out place: “I feel like I’m in bad German porn. Do you know how to strip tease, accurately, accidentally?” And then the chorus: “There is Sobchak on my body, there is Sobchak on my ballot.”

    In the background the presidential candidate, a slim woman in a short-sleeve COCO T-shirt and round glasses smiled her big red-lipped Cheshire Cat smile—more demure than her past celeb mode that invited comparison to Kardashians—and happy to see a forest of cell phones filming her and her campaigners.

    Her team is generally made up of well-educated young women and men, champions at mobilizing crowds. But the success of the turnout at Sobchak’s event was, to a large extent, the result of strategic decisions and political technologies used by her campaign managers. And Sobchak’s senior adviser in this part of her multi-faceted career is Vitaly Shkliarov a Russian speaker whose electoral skills were very much made in America.

    Shkliarov spent almost six years gaining experience in Wisconsin, in Virginia and Washington state working for multiple congressional and presidential candidates, including Barack Obama, Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, who is the first openly gay U.S. Senator in history, and the surprising, insurgent presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders last year.

    Now that Shkliarov is back here in Moscow, he says, “Our strategy is to illustrate to Russian society what a great, unique chance [incumbent President Vladimir] Putin’s team has lost by not reforming the country, [and that] it is possible that we are not going to see another chance like that for decades.”

    A 41-year-old citizen of Belarus, he left home in 1998, hitchhiked to Germany and finished graduate school there. But Shkliarov says his home is now Washington D.C.

    He got his PhD in social and political sciences at the University of Vechta in northwestern Germany and while there he heard then-Senator Barack Obama give a campaign speech at a rally in Berlin in 2008. After that, as Shkliarov told The Daily Beast, “I dreamed of working for Obama’s campaign in 2011-2012.”

    Shkliarov moved to the U.S. in 2010 and the next year joined Obama’s campaign, first as a volunteer, then as a call manager.

    Working his way from one candidate to another, he served the Bernie Sanders campaign as the deputy state director responsible for mobilization in Washington State and proudly notes that Sanders won 72 percent of the vote there. “That was one of our coolest victories, we managed to beat Hillary [Clinton] by 22 percent.”

    Russian liberals often criticize Sobchak for being “Putin’s goddaughter,” for playing the role of a fake candidate. A few weeks ago, when Sobchak broke the news that she would run in the 2018 presidential election from the opposition, most liberal experts, including some of Sobchak’s friends suspected the Kremlin’s hand behind her move. Critics blame Sobchak for betraying opposition leader Alexei Navalny and hundreds of thousands of his supporters, who have been protesting around dozens of Russian cities. The Kremlin would not register Navalny’s candidacy for the presidency but allowed Sobchak to run.

    Some figures in the Democratic Party in the U.S. have criticized Shkliarov for working with Sobchak. “This former Sanders staffer is now working in Russia for Putin’s handpicked ‘opponent’ Ksenia Sobchak,” the co-founder and executive director of Ready for Hillary, Adam Parkhomenko, tweeted recently. “She is a fake candidate propped up by the Kremlin. Not even a hidden secret. Very disturbing.”

    Shkliarov reacts to Parkhomenko’s post with a sad smile. “Back in the U.S. I heard tons of accusations. People called me ... a Russian spy working for Sanders,” he said. And it seems he has no illusions about Sobchak’s cynical roll. But at the same time he insists that Russia is a completely different story from the U.S. and nobody should judge him unless they actually tried themselves to work in the elections in Moscow.

    “There is a full monopoly of power, a white and black Russian world, where Putin is black and Alexey Navalny is white,” he said. “Navalny was not registered, so we could just sit and complain for six years or we could do something useful and make the difference.”

    Shkliarov denied he is or was a spy: “I have never in my life worked for any state.” And he says he is convinced that Sobchak’s campaign was the only chance for liberal Russians today.

    His track record so far is impressive. Last year Shkliarov came to work in Russia to campaign for opposition candidates in the municipal elections: 267 independent and opposition candidates won the elections to become deputies for Moscow district councils.

    “Vitaly Shkliarov’s creativity helped us to win,” opposition leader Dmitry Gudkov told The Daily Beast. “He is the best campaign manager for us, independent candidates who have no access to television.”

    Shkliarov and his colleagues created software that helped them engage supporters and mobilize people for public events. “All Russian well-known campaigners use the same old clichés and he brought us new technologies,” Gudkov added.

    It was very quiet at the campaign headquarters when Sobchak spoke about the war in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea: “Unfortunately, our people do not get that there is a direct connection between annexation of Crimea, growing prices and failing economy—our GDP is already somewhere next to Peru’s,” she said. “We took an aggressive step and we received an aggressive response, sanctions. In February the next wave of sanctions will choke our economy, our banks,” Sobchak continued, confidently treading where others might fear to go.

    The Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea was what had inspired Russian patriotism in the last three years, and in October when Sobchak said that “Crimea is Ukrainian” the remark made a huge part of the population angry, some even suggested she should be investigated for extremism.

    But Sobchak’s strategist, Shkliarov, is convinced that politicians who admit their governments’ mistakes wind up the winners. “I was deeply impressed with Obama’s address to the People of Berlin, with him admitting America’s mistakes, as I’d grown up in a country where nobody liked to admit their weaknesses, their unjustified actions,” Shkliarov remembered. “I wanted to hear an honest voice in Russia, that would apologize for all the mistakes—so my main advice for Sobchak is not to lie.”

    It will be up to Sobchak to follow that advice, or not.
    Now Shaking Up Russia: The Bernie Bro Taking on Putin on His Home Turf

    Also: The man bringing Sanders-style politics to Moscow - CNN

    Vitaly Shkliarov

    With Dmitry Gudkov

    Now, he is working with Sobchak...

    She has many interesting people involved in her campaign, another would be, for example, Anton Krasovsky, a journalist, activist, and pretty much, as far as I know, the only such famous person in Russia to be openly gay, a huge advocate for LGBTs and HIV positive people (I think he has HIV himself too, could be wrong about that though)

    That's not gonna get her votes from conservative Orthodox Christian and Muslim communities, FWIW... And that IS important over there...

    She did used to be close with Navalny (top); and she had also dated years ago Ilya Yashin (below), another well known Oppositioner, who won a seat in the municipal elections along with Gudkov

    However, I don't believe she was ever a real Opposition member herself. It was just a fling to her.

    Just a spoiled rich girl

    Her dad, Anatoly Sobchak, was Governor of St. Petersburg and Putin's political mentor, back in the 90s; and mother, Lyudmila Narusova, is still a powerful senator.

    The family remained close to Putin after Anatoly's death in 2000

    Today, she is married to Maxim Vitorgan, a Russian movie star, and they spend their evenings at glitzy parties in high end Moscow night clubs with other rich celebrities

    Here she is dressed up as Princess Leia, with members of the iconic Petersburg rock band "Leningrad"


    She always did like to party...

    And she also has for many years now hosted this idiotic reality show:

    She became known as Russia's Paris Hilton and, in 2011, met the original, when Paris came to Moscow for some event

    I mean, does that strike you as real Presidential material, for ANY country?

    Let alone a place like Russia... Come on...

    And, just based on the things she is doing, talking about Crimea (and refusing to campaign there), a super sensitive issue no other politician would touch, period; bringing in the aforementioned nasty gay guy Krasovsky into her campaign staff (and, btw, promising to repeal the various anti-gay legislation and even allow same sex unions if she is elected); promising to slash defence spending and cut down the size of the military (and end all the engagements in Ukraine, Syria, etc); among other things; just, completely alienating the conservative, nationalist base, which makes up, whether any of us like it or not, the overwhelming majority there, even among younger people; it feels like she is DELIBERATELY setting herself up to lose, precisely because her job is NOT to win, but to simply draw away liberal Opposition votes.

    She really is a stooge and a shill, I am sorry to say... She certainly is no Russian Bernie Sanders lol

  2. #2
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011


    A volunteer that was beaten while canvassing for Ksenia Sobchak’s presidential campaign over the weekend has been identified as a one-time member of a pro-Putin nationalist group.

    Sergei Selyukov was assaulted and hospitalized after collecting signatures for Sobchak in a northern Moscow suburb last Sunday, the presidential candidate said in a statement on her blog.

    Social media users recognized Selyukov as an ex-National Liberation Movement provocateur who took part in multiple attacks on local opposition activists, The Insider news website reported Tuesday.

    A YouTube video screenshot depicting Selyukov kicking an activist was posted on Twitter by Vladislav Zdolnikov, an IT consultant associated with opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund.

    Selyukov reportedly left the pro-Putin movement last spring after accusing its leader of pursuing “ulterior motives."

    On the day of Selyukov’s beating, Yevgeny Roizman, an opposition politician and the mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city of Yekaterinburg, warned in a YouTube video that the outcome of the 2018 election was pre-determined in Putin’s favor.

    “All official figures without exception […] were explicitly ordered to ensure maximum turnout,” he said.

    “Another very serious thing I’ll tell you is that all financial and commercial groups here in the region have been instructed to collect signatures for Putin and Sobchak," he said.

    Sobchak has been criticized as a “spoiler” candidate that has been allowed to run as a “Kremlin-approved steam valve” for Russia’s westernized liberal opposition.
    Beaten Sobchak Volunteer Outed as Pro-Kremlin Nationalist

    According to Sobchak's blog (, Selyukov had been collecting signatures at his own apartment building; and some neighbor, who "had been celebrating Christmas rather strongly" (that is, had way too much to drink lol), took offense to Selyukov bothering him and his family about this bs, on their holiday. And expressed his feelings the way a Russian man often does: with his fists, and feet, and probably other hard objects he found at hand Shit happens. This is what I call the irony of life

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Micro Machines Champion, Race Against Time Champion Tedminator's Avatar
    Jun 2010

    South Florida
    Spoiler alert: Putin wins the 2018 Russian election.
    Thanks from The Man

  4. #4
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by Tedminator View Post
    Spoiler alert: Putin wins the 2018 Russian election.
    No shit lol

    That's why I wonder what this dude is doing over there, if he is such a serious political expert from America... Why waste his time on this???

    Methinks he is a tad overhyped and overrated, probably...

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