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Feature Story November 6, 2007
 
FANTASY ELECTIONS
The eXile plays the Kremlin's hottest game
 
Page 4 of 8
 

2003 Season Standing

Took third place with 12% of the vote and 36 seats, up from its 6% showing in 1999.

Prediction

Game over.

Injury Report

Lugovoi is listed as "questionable" for game day (radiation poisoning).

FAIR RUSSIA

After the success of creating a popular pro-Kremlin Duma party, Fair Russia (also called "Just Russia") is yet another in a series of failed attempts at creating a popular pro-Kremlin opposition party, oxymorons be damned. Taking a page out of the Al Davis playbook, Fair Russia snapped up as many unreliable big-name veterans as it could in the off-season, becoming the oddsmakers' favorite to take the number two spot from perennial number-two'rs The Communists. However, just as Davis' Raiders never managed to repeat their glory of the early 1980s, so Just Russia cannot repeat the glory of United Russia. Over the past few weeks it appears as though Fair Russia is falling part faster than a cheap suit in Game 7 at Fenway Park, with mass defections and demoralization.

Team History

Founded in 2006 by Kremlin tool Sergei Mironov as a successor to Mironov's failed quasi-left Party of Life project, which went nowhere in the 2003 elections. Quickly brought other Kremlin projects like Rodina and the Pensioners Party into its fold--and now it looks like Fair Russia is folding, too.

Team Roster

Sergei Mironov, Svetlana Goryacheva, [Sergei Shargunov was cut after the opening week following personal disagreements with General Manager Vladimir Surkov, who is also the General Manager of United Russia and commissioner of the NEL].

Strengths

Decent jerseys and souvenir mugs, players who don't question the coach's plays, plenty of billionaires, the opportunity for ambitious multimillionaire types who are on United Russia's waiting list to get in on what seemed like a good new opportunity.

Weaknesses

It wasn't a good opportunity. Once they found themselves in genuine opposition to Putin, the pro-Putin opposition party self-destructed faster than Michael Vick's doggie kennel.

Draft Report

Had the strongest draft of any team until United Russia's Putin acquisition, nabbing All Pros like Alexei Mitrofanov, billionaire "liberal" Alexander Lebedev, and Rodina liquidator/multimillionaire Alexander Babakov. Surprise draft of Shargunov turned out to be the flop of the year, while Lebedev is one of scores of draftees abandoning the party.

2003 Season Standing

N/A. Fair Russia is an expansion team with no history and no future.

Injury Report

The entire team has reportedly come down with a virulent strain of regretitis ever since Putin joined United Russia. Doctors say that the only cure is a heavy dose of snagglepus therapy (in which the patient exits, stage left...and never returns). For the moment, Shurganov is out for the season, as is Lebedev and former putschist Varennikov, while dozens of others are listed as "doubtful" or "week to week."

Prediction

Remember the Vancouver Grizzlies? We predict that Fair Russia will move to another stadium, such as Sberbank Stadium or Nanotechnology Stadium, and have a new name, such as "We-Love-Putin-More-Than-They-Do-We-Swear-To-God Russia."

YABLOKO

If Cinderella never even got to try on her glass slippers and she was a Russian political party, she'd be Yabloko, the sentimental favorite that always struggles to make it to the Big Ball. The last time Yabloko made a play that mattered, 20-something American high-school dropouts were still able to land jobs in Moscow with six figure salaries just for their blue passports. This OG team used to throw some mind-bending intellectual/liberal/democratic opposition moves during the Yeltsin years, kicked off with its Triple-A "500 Day Plan" fleeflicker that had scouts and columnists all abuzz about Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky's bright future. In the end, the minor league hopeful turned out to be no match for the Kremlin's superior offensive strategy and coaching, as well as longtime rival Anatoly Chubais' deliciously evil spearings. Today, Yabloko has only two Duma bench warmers.


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