A candidate for the governor of St. Petersburg, Russia promised to send cryptocurrency GUBER to those who would vote for him on the gubernatorial elections on September 8, 2019.
While such is outright bribery seems to be legit due to the loopholes in the existing legislation, the Central Electoral Committee (CEC) will be hardly impressed by the creative approach to pre-election propaganda.
The Future Is Upon Us
Vladimir Kuznetsov, a candidate for governor of St. Petersburg, Russia, offers GUBER tokens for signatures in support of his nomination and votes in the upcoming elections. He published the proposal and the appeal to the electorate on his official website.
According to Kuznetsov, GUBER tokens have no value. They are a souvenir cryptocurrency issued specifically for this electorate. He claims that the tokens can be obtained only from him; however, they are listed and available for purchase on Waves DEX platform.
The primary purpose of GUBER tokens is to bring St. Petersburg citizens closer to the new reality, the candidate explains on his website. He says that GUBERs are educational tokens. They will help to get to know the new type of money, to try it and get engaged with the new industry in Russia to everyday non-tech savvy people who cannot afford to buy digital assets.
Thus, anyone who votes for the guy will get 1000 GUBERs; municipal officers have special arrangements: those who support his candidacy and help him to pass the municipal filter will get one million tokens. More than enough to play with a new type of asset and get to know what it is all about.
Digital Assets in Russia: Playing With Fire
The existing legislation in Russia provides the candidates with a specific set of tools that can be used to attract voters like agitation, debates, advertising, media presence, etc. However, offering tangible or intangible assets in exchange for votes or signatures is not on the list.
While digital assets are neither regulated not covered by the existing legislation in Russia, the CEC will surely react to the situation and analyze its legal aspect, Denis Frolov from BMS Law Firm commented as cited by the local media outlet RBC.
“I am sure, the CEC will recognize an attempt to bypass the law and abuse the rights,” he added.
In the case of GUBER, the bribery attempt is evident, as it’s not political views, promises, or election platform but, the proposed remuneration that will influence the decision of the prospective voters.
It means that Kuznetsov may be held liable under Article 5.16 of the Administrative Code and also under Article 141 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Moreover, an average voter in Russia may not understand the nuances of the economic and legal nature of cryptocurrency and decide that this is not just an activity token, but something valuable. In this case, Kuznetsov will be charged with fraud or misinformation as well.Eventually, a candidate who pays for votes - be it dollar bills, digital tokens or lolly-pops - should not be allowed to take part in the elections, since it is a violation of current legislation. Click To Tweet
Legal Loopholes in Russia
On the one hand, digital assets are currently outside the law. They are neither money nor securities or property. They are nothing, and as such, do not fall under the definition of illegal provision of services. On the other hand, law enforcement authorities in Russia might find a direct intent to commit bribery in the actions of the candidate.
The lack of proper legislation for cryptocurrencies in Russia lead to controversial issues in many spheres of our lives, including elections. This is just another evidence of how vital it is to establish clear guidelines for the nascent industry.
While lawmakers in Russia kick the crypto can down the road, creative people use them to circumvent existing rules. At the end of the day, this case may call into question the fairness of the elections, and adversely affect the financial security of ordinary citizens.
Do you think the candidate will be disqualified? What’s your attitude to the attempts to exploit the loopholes in the legislation? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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