Russian politician faces contest from fake doppelgangers

A major Russian opposition politician will be facing a unique battle in his upcoming municipal elections with three spoiler candidates. While it is normal in Russia to find spoiler candidates with identical surnames running against opposition politicians to confuse voters, it appears that this time, they are changing their faces too.

A senior member of the liberal Yabloko party, Boris Vishnevsky posted a photo on Sunday of an informative poster for the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly race. The photo shows three Boris Vishnevskys with similar haircuts and white-flecked beards.

“My ‘doubles,’ who became ‘Boris Vishnevsky’ in time for the elections by changing their first and last name, have now changed their appearance. They’ve grown beards and mustaches, and I think they’ve gotten some retouching as well,” the original Boris tweeted on Sunday. 

While the only way to differentiate between the two Boris is by their age and their patronymics, the campaign stands out because his opponents legally changed their names. However, the original Vishnevsky has previously expressed his confidence in voters’ ability to tell him apart from the spoilers.

“This is all done to disorient voters, so that they confuse the fake with the real, and instead of the real Vishnevsky they vote for one of the fakes,” he said in an interview.

A Facebook friend of Vishnevsky pointed out that the simplest way to spot the real Vishnevsky is that he was the only one who bothered to wear a tie.