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Meet Russia's true democracy: a referendum to name Moscow's latest weapons


Russia is often accused of lacking a functioning democracy, but just try saying that with a straight face after participating in the Russian Defense Ministry’s online voting to name three next-generation weapons announced in Vladimir Putin’s recent state-of-the-nation speech. Interested patriots can help name Moscow’s new weaponized laser system, a nuclear-powered underwater drone, and a nuclear-powered, “unlimited-range” cruise missile.

There are 50 naming options for each weapon, selected from a first round of voting, when people could offer up anything.

Here’s what’s leading, so far:

  • The weaponized laser: “Bunny,” “The Beam,” and “The Optometrist”
  • The underwater drone: “Poseidon,” “The Ide,” and “The Kraken”
  • The nuclear-powered missile: “Zeus,” “Arctic Fux,” and “Surprise!”

People have also proposed the names “Hyperboloid,” “Gorgon,” “The Flyswatter,” “The Teacher,” “The Water Sprite,” “The Devil,” “Kolovrat,” “Crimea,” and “The Skunk.”

Apparently in the interests of unfettered democracy, the Russian Defense Ministry has placed no restrictions on the voting process, requiring no registration and allowing individuals to vote as many times as they like. The voting is open until March 16.

More than 870,000 Internet users participated in the first round of voting, according to the Defense Ministry. Roughly a third of these individuals were foreigners. People submitted more than 245,000 names for the new weapons.