Russia’s regional elections put severe test for Kremlin party

The vote comes weeks after Russia’s major opposition figure Alexei Navalny suspected poisoning. He fell ill on a visit to Siberia where he met local candidates participating in his project called “Smart Voting” and filmed investigative reports on the activities of local United Russia members.

The “smart voting” strategy promoted by Navalny urges the Russians to vote in support of the same candidate on any ballot most capable of any ballot coming from United Russia.

Navalny unveiled “smart voting” during local elections in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2018, with United Russia having dozens of seats in regional bodies. This year, Navalny HQ recently took the stage under the slogan “Nulliz United Russia” in explicit reference to a constitutional amendment resetting the clock on Vladimir Putin’s presidential count.

United Russia’s popularity declined over the years as its image has been extracted by unpopular reforms and corruption scandals, many of them exposed by the Navy’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Navalny gave himself a tacit understanding to the party – “rogues” And the party of thieves. “

On September 13, 2020, a man votes at a polling station in Novosibirsk, Russia.

This is the first election after Russia voted on controversial constitutional amendments that gave Putin the basis to remain in power until 2036.

The vote lasted three days between September 11–13 in an effort to limit congestion and prevent the spread of coronaviruses, a practice adopted in July on constitutional amendments, which independent watchdog organizations say has reduced transparency in voting and this It is easy to make votes false.

“Early voting traditionally makes the election process much less transparent,” the watchdog organization Golos said in a statement. “The lack of proper public control is particularly important, given that the methods of administrative aggregation of voters were used extensively on the first day of voting and that local administrations actively interfered in the work of the Election Commissions. ”
Sergei Boiko, head of the Novosibirsk headquarters of city council candidate and opposition leader Alexei Navalny, speaks to reporters in the Siberian city on September 13, 2020.

The vote could turn into a popularity test for the ruling pro-Putin United Russia party in a year that has seen controversial epidemic backlash from Russian regional leaders, record-low approval ratings for Putin, and pressure from local people unrest in some regions . As the arrest of popular governor Sergei Fergal in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk.

Navalni-linked opposition volunteers attacked Siberia with unknown liquid

Protests in Khabarovsk lasted weeks since July. Fergal, often referred to as the local “governor of the public”, defeated the Kremlin-backed candidate from the ruling United Russia Party in a surprise single round in the 2018 local elections. He refused to be out of the race under pressure from his Kremlin-backed rival, who offered to serve him as his deputy. He is portrayed as disinterested towards Putin and the Kremlin.

The outcome of this vote could serve as a bell for the 2021 elections at the head of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, where United Russia controls most of the seats.


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