RUSSIALINK: “Putin signs law allowing 3-day voting in elections, referenda” – Interfax

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. July 31 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law which allows voting in elections and referenda to be held for three consecutive days. The law was published on the official web portal for legal information on Friday. It enters into effect on the day of its publication. In accordance with the law, voting in elections “may […]

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Where U.S. Sees Democracy Promotion, Russia Sees Regime Change

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

In the aftermath of the revelation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election … Putin rejected those claims and accused the U.S. of interfering in Russian elections instead […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Here’s why statisticians are calling Putin’s constitutional plebiscite the most fraudulent vote in Russia’s recent history” – Meduza

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“Researchers who study Russia’s electoral statistics believe … the recent nationwide plebiscite on constitutional amendments is the most dishonest vote the country has seen since the year 2000. … [F]rom a statistical point of view, … official results in many precincts can’t be attributed to fair voting processes. … According to official data from Russia’s Central Election Commission, a little […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Evidence of massive ballot stuffing emerges in Russia’s referendum on constitutional changes” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“Evidence of massive ballot stuffing emerged in a mathematician[‘s] … statistical study of … the referendum on constitutional changes that would allow … Putin to remain in office until 2036. As bne IntelliNews reported before the vote …. Russian statistician Sergey Shpilkin … made a name for himself … highlighting vote rigging in past elections in Russia … studying … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Parade’s end; A phoney referendum shows Putin’s legitimacy is fading” – The Economist

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

“A proposal to extend his rule passes, buried in a huge package of feel-good measures.” “… [Following voter-luring with offers of prizes and pressures from employers, some of the week-long voting utilized cardboard boxes and other voting was online, creating opportunities to rig the vote.] … [N]ot a proper referendum[,] [i]t had no precedent or legal basis. … did not […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin gets Russians’ mandate to reset power – expert” – Interfax

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. July 2 (Interfax) – The results of the nationwide vote on changes to the Fundamental Law reflect a high level of public trust in Russian President Vladimir Putin, the head of the Foundation for Civil Society Development with close links to the Kremlin, Konstantin Kostin, said. “Many experts are talking about total support by Russian citizens for the constitutional […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Theatrical Method in Putin’s Vote Madness” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

Kremlin and River

“The outcome in Russia’s constitutional ‘referendum’ is preordained, but an elaborate spectacle of public affirmation is vital to the leader’s legitimacy.’ “Russia’s seven-day national plebiscite … to keep … Putin in power until at least 2036, delivered the expected verdict …. Less clear … was why … Putin even needed voters to approve … constitutional amendments that, already ratified by […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin a Step Away From Goal as Constitutional Vote Nears End” – AP

Kremlin and River

“… Putin is just a step away from completing his main political project of the year – constitutional changes that would allow him to extend his rule until 2036. … For the first time in Russia, polls were open for a week to help reduce crowds and to bolster turnout amid the coronavirus pandemic. Putin is all but guaranteed to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Q&A: What Does the Russia Vote Mean for Putin?” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“The result of [the] vote isn’t in much doubt, but the outcome could mean far-reaching changes for Russia as he lays plans to prolong his reign.” “Russians are casting … ballots in a [referendum] vote … expected to pave the way for … Putin … to remain … until 2036. … [T]he parliament and … highest court have already approved […]

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Overall Turnout At 9.2 Percent On First Day Of Russia’s Weeklong Constitutional Vote

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

Russia’s Central Electoral Commision … says overall turnout was about 9 percent on the first day of a weeklong vote for constitutional amendments that could pave the way for an extension of … Putin’s rule by 12 years. … [J]ournalists and opposition figures already are complaining about irregularities […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Claims of vote rigging accompany launch of voting in Russia’s constitutional referendum” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Screenshot of Video at https://twitter.com/CurrentTimeTv/status/1171888101989539842 showing man punching another man in the stomach at Russian polling place while second man was looking down at mobile device

“Russian electoral statistician Sergey Shpilkin says there are already clear signs of ballot stuffing even before the voting in Russia’s referendum on changes to the constitution begins.” “Russia started early voting in its controversial referendum on changes to the constitution on June 25 that will reset the presidential term counter for … Putin … and allow him to remain in […]

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Russia’s Constitutional Amendments Keep Several Futures Open for Putin

Kremlin and River

“… If adopted, the main change will be to allow Putin to stay in power after the end of his second consecutive — and fourth total — mandate, possibly up to 2036, when he is going to be 84 years old. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Wants You to Think He’s Not Going Anywhere” – Moscow Times/ Anna Arutunyan

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

“The Russian president is leaving himself room for maneuver. It remains to be seen, however, how much longer Putin can afford to keep people guessing.” “There’s an acquired habit of reading between the lines of everything President Vladimir Putin writes or says. Given the subterfuge of Russian state power, it’s an understandable one. The Victory Day Parade, the plebiscite to […]

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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 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Foes Divided Over Russian Vote That Could Extend His Rule” – Reuters

Kremlin and River

“… Putin’s opponents agree a nationwide vote next month that could extend his rule is a sham, but are split over … [supporting] a ‘No’ vote or … a boycott. … [On] July 1 … Russians … vote to approve or reject constitutional reforms including … allow[ing] Putin to serve two more six-year terms … instead of stepping down in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Sets Constitution Vote for July 1 as Covid-19 Crisis Wanes” – Bloomberg/ Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov

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

“… Putin rescheduled a referendum … open[ing] a path for him to remain in power until 2036[, delayed because of Covid-19]. … [O]riginally planned for April 22[, the referendum] … will be held July 1 …. [with] [v]oting … spread out over a week …. With Russia slowly emerging from [a] two[-]month[] … nationwide lockdown … the Kremlin is rushing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Where else do leaders do what Trump is accused of? Start with Russia. And he has plenty of chances to do it again.” – Washington Post/ Scott Radnitz

File Photo of Joe Biden at Podium with U.S. Seal, With Ukrainian and U.S. Flags in Background

“The House of Representatives is investigating … Trump’s alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine’s government to dig up dirt on Joe Biden …. [I]ncumbent presidents generally have a modest advantage … in familiarity, fundraising and media coverage. …. [I]n countries where … rule of law is weak, such as the post-Soviet region[ there is the prospect of] using … ‘administrative resources’ […]

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RUSSIALINK: “United Russia Officials Meddled in St. Petersburg Vote, Top Election Official Says; Ella Pamfilova said members of the ruling party had ‘directly intervened in the electoral process.'” – Moscow Times

St. Petersburg

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daniel Kozin – September 25, 2019) Top members of the ruling United Russia party in St. Petersburg meddled in the city’s municipal elections earlier this month, Central Election Commission Head Ella Pamfilova said Wednesday. Observers noted widespread violations during the Sept. 8 elections, including lengthy delays in the official count, intimidation and recounts. According to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ella Pamfilova, Villain of the Moscow Vote Protest Movement, Belongs to a Dying Breed; Both the Russian government and the opposition have grown tired of her, analysts say.” – Moscow Times

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich- September 13, 2019) It was one of the defining moments of the summer: the budding leader of Moscow’s protest movement for fair elections and the official responsible for protecting Russians’ voting rights coming to verbal blows at a public hearing. “You are the talking head of the presidential administration. Shame on you,” Lyubov […]

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VIDEO & ARTICLE: A Blow To Fair Elections: Russian Police Stand Idly By As Election Observer Is Sucker Punched

Screenshot of Video at https://twitter.com/CurrentTimeTv/status/1171888101989539842 showing man punching another man in the stomach at Russian polling place while second man was looking down at mobile device

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – Sept. 12, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-police-stand-idly-by-as-election-observer-sucker-punched/30160427.html) [click here to jump down to video] Based on the reaction of police and election officials inside St. Petersburg polling station 1619, the event that unfolded before them on election day last week was nothing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Turns Trampled Grass Into Weapon Against Opponents” – Bloomberg/ Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“A state-owned organization responsible for maintaining Moscow’s roads is seeking compensation from protest leaders for grass trampled during a recent unsanctioned protest, part of a multi-pronged assault on the opposition …. [A]uthorities raided at least 39 offices in Navalny’s political network [across the country], seeking evidence for a money laundering investigation … against his Anti-Corruption Foundation, his ally Leonid Volkov […]

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RUSSIALINK NEWSWATCH: “Hand It Over: Court Awards Moscow City Transport 1.2 Million Rubles in Suit Against Opposition Politicians” – Kommersant/ Maria Litvinova

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“Alexei Navalny, Lyubov Sobol, Ivan Zhdanov, Yulia Galyamina, Ilya Yashin, Alexander Solovyov, Oleg Stepanov, and Vladimir Milov must jointly pay Moscow City Transport (Mosgortrans) 1.2 million rubles [approx. $18,000] for … traffic stoppages during the ‘unauthorized’ protest rally on July 27 in Moscow. … [according to a] ruling … by the Koptevo District Court on [a] lawsuit brought by Moscow […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Sending blank election monitoring forms to Navalny’s campaign was criminal – CEC” – Interfax

Alexei Navalny file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 10 (Interfax) – The Central Election Commission (CEC) is looking into how blank election monitoring referrals, signed by a senior Communist Party member, ended up at the campaign office of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny, CEC deputy chair Nikolai Bulayev said. “Electronic mass media have been actively reporting that Mr. Rashkin [first secretary at the Communist Party’s Moscow […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Head of Moscow CPRF office Rashkin thanks Navalny for ‘smart voting'” – Interfax

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. Sept 11 (Interfax) – CPRF candidates used all opportunities in order to win in the Moscow City Duma elections, including opposition activist Alexei Navalny’s “smart voting” tactic, First Secretary of the CPRF Moscow city committee Valery Rashkin said. “At this stage, we used everything as a party that has its own strategy, its own program for its candidates to […]

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A New Hope? Five Takeaways From The Elections In Moscow And Elsewhere

Russia Regions Map

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – Sept. 9, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/five-takeaways-moscow-elections-russia/30155264.html) The opposition is up. The ruling party is down. Incumbent governors are in. The Kremlin is worried. Aleksei Navalny’s Smart Voting strategy is … smart? Despite Russian elections still being largely a stage-managed process, the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian PM questions dominant party’s election strategy” – Interfax

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – September 9, 2019) Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has suggested reconsidering the practice of United Russia-backed candidates running as independents in city council elections. “We can see how events are developing, there is much talk right now on the topic of so-called independent candidates – is this good or not good. Some were running as a representative of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Opposition Puts Putin Under Pressure in Moscow Election; The opposition alliance didn’t fare well elsewhere in Russia, but its leaders hail Moscow showing as a success” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“Candidates backed by Russia’s opposition won nearly half the seats up for grabs in Moscow’s city elections … building on a wave of protests … that exposed some of the frailties … in Putin ‘s closely controlled political machine, but failed to make significant inroads in local races elsewhere …. Sunday’s vote came after a tumultuous summer that saw a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s election results The opposition wins nearly half the City Duma seats, and United Russia’s local leader loses his seat” – Meduza/ Alexander Baklanov, translation Kevin Rothrock

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“… Russia’s ‘systemic opposition’ (registered parties and candidates that ostensibly oppose the ruling party, United Russia) won 20 of the Moscow City Duma’s 45 seats. In Moscow’s September 8 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party won in 13 precincts, the liberal opposition party ‘Yabloko’ … in four, and ‘Just Russia’ … in three. The authorities’ winning candidates were nine active members […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Liberal-Democrats to hold 34 of 35 seats in Khabarovsk City Duma – election results” – Interfax

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

KHABAROVSK. Sept 9 (Interfax) – Nearly all seats in the Khabarovsk City Duma will belong to the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDPR) following the elections on Sunday, the city hall said citing the territorial elections commission. “The 7th Khabarovsk City Duma has completely changed its composition. Following the vote count, 34 mandates went to LDPR candidates and one to a member of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Summer of Unprecedented Brutality in Moscow” – The New Yorker/ Masha Gessen

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Moscow [recently] has seen an unprecedented number of large, confrontational protests … met with unprecedented brutality …. [While] the Kremlin has been cracking down on dissent for seven years … arrests continue to multiply, prison terms grow longer … brutality becomes more brutal. Once in a while, the cruelty … comes into sharper focus. … prosecutors tried to strip […]

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Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “Fake News or Sloppy Journalism? The Washington Post Dims the Lights of Democracy in Siberia”

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

Subject: Fake News or Sloppy Journalism? The Washington Post Dims the Lights of Democracy in Siberia Date: Fri, 6 Sep 2019 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Fake News or Sloppy Journalism? The Washington Post Dims the Lights of Democracy in Siberia Re: Washington Post, September 5, 2019, “In Russia’s local elections, the vote totals are not what really count” By Will […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians go to polls after summer of protests” – AFP

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“[… A] hugely controversial campaign in Moscow that degenerated into the biggest police crackdown on protesters in nearly a decade. … [Local election] results … will be keenly watched ahead of [2021] parliamentary elections … and help shape Russia’s political future as … Putin’s regime enters [its] third decade …. [T]ens of thousands have taken part in Moscow protests demanding […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Opposition, Barred From Moscow Vote, Looks Elsewhere for Gains; Putin’s opponents hope a wave of dissent will carry them past a crackdown and their own discord” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove, Ann M. Simmons

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“Targeted by police … barred from the ballot in Moscow’s city elections, Russia’s opposition is trying to gain a political foothold in other municipal races … as it rides a rising wave of dissent against … Putin. But to convert a surge in support into a coherent political challenge to … Putin, opposition leaders must first overcome a crackdown against […]

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RUSSIALINK: “As Discontent Simmers, Russia’s Ruling Party Dons Camouflage in Countrywide Elections; Candidates from the ruling United Russia party are running as independents or under different banners on Sept. 8” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – September 5, 2019) Ahead of Sunday’s nationwide regional elections, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, is urging voters dissatisfied with the status quo to ignore their ideological beliefs and focus solely on casting the ruling United Russia party out of power. But in the Russian capital, voters heading to the polls […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Election Chief Defends Ban on Moscow Candidates” – AP

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“… Russia[] election commission [head Ella Pamfilova] is standing by a decision to keep a dozen independent candidates from running for the city legislature in Moscow, but concedes after weeks of protests drew unusually large crowds, thousands of arrests and unfavorable attention that the qualification rules are outdated. … [C]andidates excluded from the Sept. 8 election said they had presented […]

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Court Reinstates Navalny Team Leader In St. Petersburg To Municipal Vote Ballot

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Aug. 26, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/court-reinstates-navalny-team-leader-in-st-petersburg-to-municipal-vote-ballot/30129706.html) Aleksandr Shurshev, the head of the local chapter of Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, has been reinstated on the list of registered candidates for upcoming municipal elections. In an August 26 appeal hearing, the St. Petersburg city court ruled […]

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Hiding In Plain Sight: United Russia’s Bid To Distance Itself From Moscow Polls Falls Flat

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – Aug. 23, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/moscow-elections-united-russia-distancing-itself/30126048.html) Officially, United Russia — the political party that has dominated national, regional, and local politics since it was created by the Kremlin in 2003 — is not participating in the September 8 elections to choose […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow City Court upholds Gudkov’s disqualification from Moscow Duma elections” – Interfax

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. Aug 21 (Interfax) – The Moscow City Court has upheld opposition activist Dmitry Gudkov’s disqualification from the Moscow City Duma election, an Interfax correspondent reported on Wednesday. The Russian Central Elections Commission had refused to register him as a candidate on August 6 on the grounds of lacking about 300 valid signatures in his support of his candidacy. A […]

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Protest Movement Must Broaden Its Agenda or It will Ebb After September 8, Makarkin Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 11, 2019) Many observers, impressed by the growth of the number of people coming out to protest in Moscow in recent weeks, have ignored two important aspects of the situation that are likely to lead to the dying out of this wave of demonstrations rather than to its further expansion, Aleksey […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What to Expect From Moscow Protests This Saturday” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 8, 2019) Moscow’s opposition plans to press ahead with more protests this Saturday even after election officials closed all avenues for several Kremlin critics to run for office in the Russian capital next month. The ongoing standoff between Russia’s opposition and its leadership that has taken place in recent weeks has drawn international attention […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Super-Important Nonelections” – Kennan Institute/ Maxim Trudolyubov

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – July 26, 2019) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. [wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/russias-super-important-nonelections] The Moscow City Council election would normally be a dull affair that few voters cared about. But this year’s election is already hot. A number of prospective candidates claim […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Is Running Out of Options to Extend His Power; None of the relatively legitimate scenarios for keeping the Russian leader in power past 2024 look comfortable for him.” – Bloomberg/ Leonid Bershidsky

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

“… The Kremlin controls the Russian parliament … makin[g] it possible to change the constitution at any moment, making Putin president for life. … [a] ‘nuclear option’ … anathema to Putin … despite persistent election rigging in his favor. …  That makes it difficult to follow the path laid out by Kazakhstan[‘s] … Nazarbayev. … [who] … resigned as president […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Purpose of night searches of opposition activists’ residences was pressure – human rights council” – Interfax

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. July 25 (Interfax) – The recent searches of opposition activists’ residences were aimed at pressuring them, the chairman of the commission on civic control over law enforcement agencies of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council, Igor Kalyapin, said. “Very large doubts arise about whether these measures are actually founded. I have big doubts that the searches were conducted because […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘A Pre-Revolutionary Situation’: More Than 20,000 Rally in Moscow for Free Elections” – Moscow Times

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

Russia’s largest protest in years came after a week of demonstrations against the barring of opposition candidates from city council elections. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – July 20, 2019) Russian opposition leaders on Saturday led a protest in Moscow against the election commission’s decision to bar a host of candidates from the ballot for city council elections […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin distances itself from Moscow election controversy” – Interfax

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Interfax – July 16, 2019) The Kremlin has distanced itself from the controversy surrounding the registration of candidates in September’s Moscow city council election. “Broadly speaking, this is a matter for the electoral commission, and here the Kremlin simply has neither the authority nor any intention to intervene in this situation,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on 16 […]

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Capital’s Hard Line on Local Election Registration Further Radicalizing Muscovites, Yudin Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Windows on Eurasia – Staunton, July 14, 2019) Moscow residents have never been fans of United Russia and would never overwhelmingly back its candidates, but the authorities have decided to ensure that 90 percent of the local deputies will be from that party using various pretexts to disqualify opposition candidates rather than coopting moderate opponents, sociologist Grigory […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Meeting with Moscow City Elections Commission chair didn’t take place – opposition candidates to Moscow City Duma” – Interfax

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. July 15 (Interfax) – A meeting between Moscow City Elections Commission Chairman Valentin Gorbunov and the candidates from the opposition effectively did not take place, Ilya Yashin, a Moscow City Duma candidate in the 45th constituency, told journalists in front of the elections commission’s building. Media were not allowed to enter the building. “Instead of what was publicly announced […]

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