Putin Party Election Strategy: Vodka for Votes

Booze & backpacks among lures for Russian voters
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2007 3:24 AM CDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a recent event.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Free bottles of vodka are among the gifts Russia's ruling party is using to lure voters in upcoming elections, reports Agence France Presse. President Vladimir Putin's party, United Russia, has also stamped its logo on backpacks and lids for the jam jars many Russians fill to get through the winter.

A representative of an anti-corruption group characterized the swag as "hidden bribes."  But Russia's central elections board has determined that the gifts don't violate the law because people aren't actually asked to vote for party candidates in exchange for the treats. Parliamentary elections are set for early next month. A vote on Putin's successor will be held in March.