JRL NEWSWATCH: “Citing Virus, Some Russian Election Officials Shun Vote to Extend Putin Rule” – Reuters

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… [C]iting … coronavirus, … around 350 [Russian polling station officials] across the country say taking part [in a nationwide vote on reforms that could extend … Putin’s rule until 2036] is too dangerous … [with] authorities … reporting thousands of new infections each day despite a drop … in … Moscow. The officials have started a petition … to encourage peers to join [a] boycott. … Critics say Putin is rushing to take advantage of a feel-good patriotic vibe … [from] the annual Red Square military parade [] on June 24 … good summer weather and the [lockdown] easing …. No opposition events are expected … [C]oronavirus-induced bans on public events are an easy way for the Kremlin to avoid protests. The vote is being held over seven days … electronic voting is allowed in two regions including Moscow … polling stations may be outdoors. …”

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