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Election Journal: Moscow's White Ring

Monday, January 30, 2012

Election Journal: Moscow's White Ring

by Tamara Eidelman

The greatest pleasure in recent weeks was yesterday’s “White Ring” auto rally, when cars drove around Moscow’s Garden Ring festooned with white ribbons. The white ribbon has become the symbol of people’s disagreement with the results of the December Duma elections.

On a Sunday at two o’clock, Moscow’s Garden Ring usually has very few cars. But yesterday, when the cars “closed the ring,” the traffic was estimated at 6 points on our side [on the ten-point traffic rating scale], and just 1 in the opposite direction.

At first, I thought I might tie white towels to my car, but then hesitated, thinking that would be too much, so I simply applied small white ribbons. Arriving at the Ring, I immediately understood I had made a mistake. Cars parading along the ring had been transformed into works of art: some were completely wrapped in toilet paper, others were covered with fake snow, and still others had white sheets tied to their door handles.

Several times I was passed by a huge black Jeep on which was written, in big white letters, “StateDept.” I caught up to it and tried to ask for the allowance which, if one is to believe our prime minister, Hilary Clinton was giving out to all protesters. They didn’t give me any money – Hilary, where is our money?

In two hours, I circumnavigated the Ring twice. It’s been a long time since I experienced so many positive emotions.