United Russia faced an array of Communists, nationalists and liberals in State Duma elections on Sunday, but one of its ardent opponents was a more peculiar political animal: a cartoon pig named Nakh-Nakh.
"These are not elections in the European sense of the word because no party that presents a challenge or has not been agreed with the Kremlin has been allowed to run," said satirist Viktor Shenderovich, a co-founder of the Nakh-Nakh movement.
"The question is what people who understand that this is a farce should do."
Their answer: Nakh-Nakh, a bespectacled pig with an orange scarf, a blue beret and a double-entendre of a name that to Russians evokes both the Three Little Pigs and an obscenity that, put more politely, means "Go away!"
Shenderovich and his allies enlisted Nakh-Nakh to show Russians how to show what they think of the elections.
In a series of animated clips posted on the Internet, the pink-cheeked pig casts his vote, angrily marking the box for each party with an X and adding a big black X across the entire ballot before slipping it through the slot.
A caricature of Putin appears repeatedly: in a poster on the wall of the polling station, atop the shoulders of all the poll workers and adjacent to the names of all seven parties' names on the ballot.
In one clip — "Nakh-Nakh's Scary Dream" — the pig attends a Kremlin banquet but soon finds that he is the main dish, an apple stuffed in his mouth and his body carved into butcher's cuts labeled with the names of the seven parties on Sunday's ballot.
The message: It's the same no matter how you slice it.
"Cross out the thieving authorities. Spoil the celebration. Come to the elections. Vote against all," one clip says. "Vote for Russia."