Ukraine's divisive local elections were mired in controversy Sunday after elections in the port city of Mariupol were canceled following irregularities in the vote. As problems mounted and uncertainties grew, one local artist satirized the political contest through the beloved HBO show "Game of Thrones."
Kiev artist Denis Gritsfeldt, 29, created a series of parody election posters in the run-up to the elections to poke fun at the farcical elements of Ukraine's local contests. What started off as joke between friends has become a work of political commentary, shared thousands of times by social media users online.
The elections are the first local contest since President Petro Poroshenko took power following a popular uprising in 2014, and are seen as a kind of litmus test as to whether Ukrainians approve of his leadership.
Citizens took to the polls to vote for a series of town councils and important mayoral seats, with more than 170 parties putting candidates on the ballots. With continuing challenges from pro-Russian separatists in the east, and reports of ballot-tampering, the elections have proved fairly dysfunctional.
As a result of the numerous parties and candidates, the streets of Ukrainian cities and towns have been plastered with campaign posters, many depicting candidates unknown to the vast majority of voters, according to Gritsfeldt. The unfamiliarity of so many of the candidates throughout the country inspired him to create his own posters with images of characters from "Game of Thrones."
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) October 25, 2015
The series depicts the conflicts and dramas of a group of families in a fictitious world in which everyone is vying for power. The creator of the posters said the pitfalls of ego and the lessons of the courageous in the series could serve as a cautionary tale for Ukraine. "One should think carefully before making their choice, because the person behind the name on the voting paper may be one more Joffrey or, on the contrary, Jon Snow," the artist told Mashable.