After a historic crackdown, Russians have begun voting in parliamentary elections.
Following a historic crackdown on the opposition, Russians in the Far East began voting in a three-day parliamentary election in which vocal Kremlin critics were forbidden from standing.
The world’s largest country’s parliamentary and local elections, which span 11 time zones, begin at 08:00 a.m. on Friday. As Muscovites prepared to retire for the night, residents of the Far Eastern Chukotka and Kamchatka areas prepared to vote.
“Let’s go!” exclaims the narrator. In a live broadcast, Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Central Election Commission, said. “We’re ecstatic!” exclaims the group.
The run-up to the parliamentary elections has been plagued by an unprecedented assault on Kremlin dissidents and independent media, with President Vladimir Putin’s chief antagonist Alexei Navalny imprisoned and his organizations dissolved in January.
Putin urged Russians to elect a “strong” parliament, despite many people being disgruntled by declining salaries and not intending to vote.
In a video speech, Putin added, “I’m counting on your responsible, balanced, and patriotic civic perspective.”
After the Kremlin stated this week that an outbreak of coronavirus cases had spread within his inner entourage, the 68-year-old Russian leader is currently isolating. He stated on Thursday that “dozens” of people had tested positive.
Navalny appealed on Russians to put aside their indifference and vote pro-Kremlin candidates out of office in a message sent from prison.
“Are you not interested in trying?” he said in an Instagram message, adding that he remained hopeful even in prison and urged Russians to do the same.
“I don’t believe I can’t alter anything,” said the 45-year-old, who survived a Novichok nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.
Navalny’s associates have been forbidden from running, and his team has promoted the opposition politician’s tactical voting scheme, asking followers to support candidates who are best positioned to defeat Putin’s United Russia candidates.
The Communist Party is fielding the majority of the 225 alternative parliament candidates listed by Navalny’s allies.
The media watchdog has blacklisted hundreds of websites associated to Navalny, including the tactical voting website, and has pushed Google and Apple to remove Navalny’s app from their stores.
According to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, the developers of Navalny’s program have ties to the Pentagon, and Moscow summoned US Ambassador John Sullivan last week about polling intervention by US tech firms.
According to recent polls conducted by the state-run pollster VTsIOM, fewer than 30% of Russians intend to vote for the ruling party, down from 40-45% in the previous election. Brief News from Washington Newsday.