Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nerd History: How Boris Yelstin Used a Television Show to Secure Reelection

With the United States election coming up, I figured I'd toss a few fun things out the next few weeks involving electoral politics and some of the strange things surrounding them. This week, we head to Russia.

In the most recent issue of Mental Floss, they highlight a weird quirk about the 1996 Russian election. Yeltsin was understandably worried about his reelection, and thus was able to work it out so that his base would stay in one spot and not go far on election day. His plan hinged on a soap opera.

This soap, Tropikanka, was a super-popular show in Russia at the time and aired on the state-run network. What better way to keep people at home than to take their favorite soap opera and schedule a three hour finale on election day? Yeltsin gets his people to their voting places in the city (since the country's smaller homes lack television sets), the Russian people get to see their finale, and everyone goes home happy.

Including Boris Yeltsin, who was reelected easily to a second term.

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