Late last month, a billboard appeared in northern Russian city of Petrozavodsk advertising the ruling political party United Russia. The banner included a quote from Vladimir Putin, reading “The foundation of United Russia’s politics is a deep understanding of the country’s state interests.” The billboard would likely have gone unnoticed, were it not for the fact that it was installed atop a concrete slab planted in the middle of a handicapped parking space outside a local grocery store.
A few days after the media began drawing attention to the oddly placed billboard, someone moved the handicapped parking sign over to the left a few spaces. Next, unknown persons erased the banner altogether, leaving behind a blank billboard, without any mention of United Russia or Vladimir Putin. But the sign and the concrete block remained.
Most recently, on Sept. 6, the city awoke to discover that the billboard had finally been removed — but the concrete slab is still where it was, and the parking space remains inaccessible.
In less than two weeks, on Sept. 18, Russia will hold national elections for parliament, where United Russia is expected to retain its majority in the State Duma.
“In Petrozavodsk, a billboard for United Russia was installed in a handicapped parking spot a few days ago. When photos started making the rounds online, they moved the handicapped parking sign a few spaces down to the left. Then they erased the United Russia ad. Today they cut down the billboard altogether, but they didn’t touch the concrete block, leaving it in place.” (Lentach)