NEWSWATCH: “Why Russian protests are making the Kremlin rethink 2018 presidential elections. The implicit choice in next year’s elections was looking like ‘Putin or nothing.’ But the breadth of protests Sunday organized by anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny is changing that equation.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Russia Regions Map

“… staging significant protest actions in almost 100 #Russian cities Sunday, Alexei Navalny has laid down a serious challenge to Vladimir Putin. The anti-corruption blogger-turned-politician wants to run for president in elections that are barely a year off, and has been conducting himself as if his campaign were already under way. The Kremlin has the means to prevent him, by invoking a criminal conviction, recently upheld by a regional court, that could bar him from running for office. It has been standard procedure under … Putin’s brand of ‘managed democracy’ to cull the ballot, using various pretexts, to ensure that independent challengers are kept out and results are tailored to match the authorities’ expectations. * * * … Unlike Russia’s old-line liberal opposition, Navalny is not associated with the disastrous decade of the 1990s, and he is more in tune with the current nationalistic mood of Russians, which makes it difficult for the Kremlin to peg him as a pro-Western ‘”fifth columnist.'”

Click here for: “Why Russian protests are making the Kremlin rethink 2018 presidential elections. The implicit choice in next year’s elections was looking like ‘Putin or nothing.’ But the breadth of protests Sunday organized by anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny is changing that equation.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir