March 01, 2009

Arrival of Russian Democracy

   March 26, 1989

it was cold on march 26, 1989. There was snow on the ground. At least that was how it was in Leningrad, where I had gone over spring break with my students. We spent the day touring Tsarskoye Selo, but found watching polling stations being opened just as interesting as Rastrelli’s architecture. I proudly announced that I had no plans to vote because I had never voted in my life. Actually, I twisted the truth a bit here. Although I, personally, had never once set foot in a polling station during the Soviet era, I had not objected to my parents taking my passport and going to vote for me. Apparently nobody at the polling station objected either.

By March 1989, my “anti-voting” attitude was a bit out of date. Millions of people throughout the country saw things differently and, for the past few months, had been discussing the new election law and the possibilities it offered.

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