Two young anti-Putin activists trudged through a snow-logged Moscow housing estate on a recent Saturday, putting up fliers promoting a boycott of a presidential election next month. “It’s not an election, it’s a trick,” read one, depicting a goggle-eyed caricature of Vladimir Putin, who polls show should be comfortably re-elected on March 18. A man donning a fur hat ripped one of the fliers down within a minute. A woman, told by the activists “our elections have been stolen”, quietly shut her door in their faces. Unglamorous and at times disheartening for those involved, this is the sharp end of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s campaign to boycott an election he says amounts to the rigged reappointment of Putin, whom he likens to an autocratic Tsar.
Articles about voting issues in the Russian Federation.
Russian authorities blocked opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s website on Thursday a month before a presidential election, a move Navalny said was designed to blunt his campaign for a boycott of what he says is a sham vote. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, said it had ordered telecoms operators to block parts of Navalny’s site because he had ignored a request to remove material covered in an injunction obtained by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska said his claim was related to the dissemination of false allegations about him based on leaked private information and was designed to protect his right to privacy.
Russia: A group of industry insiders is putting Russian election meddling up for ad awards | TechCrunch
A small group of advertising industry insiders have developed a novel campaign for this years’ ad awards season — nominating Russia’s misinformation and manipulation efforts for an award. According to a report in The New Yorker, these ad insiders have already put the case study they made for Russia’s election interference — “ProjectMeddle.com” — up for a Webby Award. The Webbys is an award ceremony that purports to provide accolades and acknowledgement to “the best of the internet”. The submission video itself is something to see.
Less than six weeks before a presidential vote, Russia should be right in the thick of a heated election campaign. But with Vladimir Putin’s victory on 18 March all but in the bag, the thoughts of the Russian elite are occupied with a much bigger electoral problem: what happens at the next vote, in 2024? With nothing much at stake this time around, the Kremlin’s most pressing problem for the 2018 vote is ensuring enough people show up on polling day to make the turnout percentage respectable – which the opposition are trying to bring down through calls for a boycott. The problems on the 2024 horizon are far more serious.
Russia: Protesters urge boycott of presidential vote even as opposition leader is arrested | The Washington Post
From central Moscow to the Arctic, thousands of Russian protesters on Sunday called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential election even as the authorities detained organizers and raided the office of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Police detained Navalny, who branded the boycott a “voters’ strike” against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, shortly after the protests began. But more than 1,000 people took to one of Moscow’s central thoroughfares nevertheless. Thousands more turned out on squares and streets in St. Petersburg, in Siberia and in places as remote as Murmansk, a port city in the far north where the temperature Sunday afternoon was 8 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
If you oppose Vladimir Putin, is it even worth voting? This basic question over how much remains of Russian democracy is driving an emotional and divisive debate in the ranks of this country’s political opposition. Barred from the ballot in the March 18 presidential election, Russia’s most prominent Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, is staging rallies across the country this Sunday to call for a boycott of the vote. Other opposition politicians are furious over Navalny’s effort, arguing that convincing anti-Putin voters to stay home would be a gift to a Kremlin looking to the election as affirmation of its power.
Another round of Putin’s reelection (as Russians have come to call presidential elections) is scheduled for March 18, 2018. While little may be surprising about who will actually win, the Kremlin is trying its very best to inject some interest and entertainment value into the election. Russia’s authorities have learned from the experience of the 2011–12 election, when public dissatisfaction with lack of change led to a series of countrywide mass rallies. For a start, the authorities have introduced some liberalization to Russia’s formal electoral rules. Among other things, they permitted an increase in the official number of candidates. Legislative amendments allowed more parties to form; in the 2017 parliamentary election, fourteen parties were formally allowed to compete, as opposed to only seven parties in the prior election in 2011. Since parties can nominate their own presidential candidates, the 2018 presidential field is also expected to widen in comparison with the previous presidential election, in which only five candidates were officially registered to participate.
A Moscow court on Monday ordered the closing of a foundation supporting the activities of Aleksei A. Navalny, the country’s leading opposition politician, moving quickly in a case filed only this month by the Justice Ministry. The court order came before a series of rallies in more than 90 Russian cities and towns, scheduled for Sunday and organized by Mr. Navalny and his supporters. The foundation, the Fifth Season of the Year, has been used by Mr. Navalny to collect donations that finance campaign materials, salaries and offices in 84 regions across Russia, among other weapons in his drive against corruption and the workings of the Kremlin under President Vladimir V. Putin. More than 145,000 Russians have donated $4.9 million to the foundation over the past 13 months, Mr. Navalny says.
Russia’s only major independent pollster, the Levada Center, said on Tuesday it had stopped publishing polls about the forthcoming presidential election because it feared the authorities might shut it down for perceived meddling. The move, which the Kremlin later endorsed as a necessary step to comply with the law, will reduce open source information about public sentiment ahead of the March 18 election which polls suggest incumbent Vladimir Putin, who is backed by state TV and the ruling party, will comfortably win. Levada is regarded as one of Russia’s three main pollsters and the only one not to be close to the authorities. But it was officially designated ‘a foreign agent’ in 2016 because of its funding, a move it and others said was designed to hobble it.
The Russian Constitutional Court on Friday refused to review a complaint by opposition leader Alexei Navalny over his ban from running in this year’s presidential election, Russian news agency RIA reported. The complaint “does not meet the requirements of the federal constitutional law,” said Valery Zorkin, the chairman of the court, according to RIA. Zorkin said disqualifying people from becoming elected public officials due to past convictions upholds the “legitimacy” of elected office.