“You know, comrades,” Joseph Stalin is famously quoted as saying, “to me it is highly irrelevant how the party votes. What is of the utmost importance is who counts the votes and how they go about it.”
The Soviet leader’s adage, as noted by Stalin’s secretary Boris Bazhanov after his death, is one he lived by, as it now embodies the hollow ballot-casting in the single-party Soviet regime. It has also rung true of many regimes since, including in Russia.
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