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Stalin’s CitizensEveryday Politics in the Wake of Total War$
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Serhy Yekelchyk

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199378449

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199378449.001.0001

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Election Day

Election Day

(p.179) Chapter 6 Election Day
Stalin’s Citizens

Serhy Yekelchyk

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the complex political ritual of Stalinist elections complete with the voter’s arrival at the polling station, the voting procedure, and subsequent social activities. Most Kyivites came to embrace the official styling of Election Day as a “holiday,” a festive moment for confirming their Soviet identities, rather than a political choice. This acceptance was marked by the fusion of the communal and the political in the rituals associated with going to the polling station, depositing the ballot, and relaxing with friends and neighbors afterward. The chapter explains just how the authorities arrived at 99 percent participation and almost 100 percent votes in favor of official candidates. However, during every election the authorities recorded a significant number of negative inscriptions on the ballots protesting everyday deprivations and injustices. Such expressions of discontent rarely rose to condemning the political system itself, but they were worrisome nonetheless.

Keywords:   elections, voting, ballots, discontent, communal ties, Kyiv

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