Russian Opposition Planning Nationwide Protest, Contesting On-line Votes After Election Losses

A committee of opposition politicians and activists who misplaced to Kremlin-backed candidates is planning a nationwide protest in opposition to parliamentary election outcomes they imagine have been rigged.

The opposition additionally plans to file lawsuits and draft laws banning the usage of on-line voting, which they blame for his or her election losses. Opposition candidates have been largely excluded from the poll.

Marina Litvinovich, one of many few Kremlin critics allowed to run for a seat within the State Duma, stated she and different opposition members would contest the election outcomes.

“On September 17-19, hundreds of thousands of residents of our nation had their votes stolen. That is why we, candidates for the eighth convocation of the State Duma that signify completely different political forces, have created a committee for abolishing the net voting,” Litvinovich wrote on Fb.

Election outcomes on Monday handed a win to the Kremlin’s United Russia social gathering. It obtained 49.8 p.c of the vote for the 225 seats apportioned by events and gained 198 out of 225 seats for lawmakers who’re chosen immediately by voters.

For extra reporting from the Related Press, see under

A gaggle of politicians and activists who misplaced to their Kremlin-backed opponents in Russia’s parliamentary election final weekend have shaped a coalition to contest the outcomes from on-line voting within the Russian capital, which they imagine was rigged and blame for his or her defeat. On this Monday, September 20, 2021 file picture, a demonstrator holds a Russian nationwide flag throughout a protest in opposition to the outcomes of the Parliamentary election in Moscow.
Pavel Golovkin, File/AP Picture

The opposition has denounced the outcomes and pointed to a variety of particular person Moscow races as proof of tampering. In these races, Kremlin-backed candidates have been dropping till the outcomes of on-line voting, which was an choice in Moscow and several other different areas, got here in Monday — and so they instantly shot forward.

Litvinovich stated the committee of unsuccessful candidates is in search of to invalidate the outcomes of on-line voting in Moscow and to abolish the usage of on-line voting in future elections, in addition to to deal with vote-rigging typically.

The coalition consists of the candidates of a number of political events — from the liberal Yabloko and the Communist Celebration, the second-biggest political drive within the parliament, to New Folks, which was shaped final yr and is regarded by many as a Kremlin-sponsored venture.

The Communist Celebration doesn’t acknowledge the outcomes of the vote in Moscow, its senior member and one of many leaders of the coalition Valery Rashkin individually stated Thursday.

All of them misplaced single-constituency races in Moscow, the place practically 2 million votes have been forged on-line along with at polling stations. Most of the candidates have been endorsed by the Sensible Voting technique designed by imprisoned opposition chief Alexei Navalny.

Navalny’s group hoped to undermine United Russia’s dominance in parliament with Sensible Voting, which backed candidates who had the perfect likelihood of defeating these supported by the Kremlin. Nonetheless, authorities undertook a large effort to suppress the venture, together with pressuring Apple and Google to take away an app designed by Navalny’s allies from their Russian on-line shops.

In a social media publish relayed via his attorneys from jail, Navalny blasted “the almighty Huge Tech” for turning into President Vladimir Putin’s “helpers” and for “recognizing the suitable of an authoritarian thief to subjugate the web, turning it into an instrument of retaining the grip on energy.”

The election has been extensively seen as an necessary a part of Putin’s efforts to cement his grip on energy forward of the 2024 presidential election, through which management of the State Duma, or parliament, will likely be key.

Sensible Voting-endorsed candidates have been forward in at the very least half of Moscow’s 15 single-constituency races till the outcomes of on-line voting got here in on Monday afternoon.

Not like in a number of different Russian areas the place voters had the choice of casting ballots on-line, Moscow election officers did not reveal the outcomes of on-line voting instantly after polls closed on Sunday. The hours-long delay prompted fears the net balloting can be tampered with.

Outrage mounted after the outcomes of on-line voting upended races in Moscow on the final minute.

In mild of the rigging allegations, Alexey Venediktov, head of the Moscow Public Election Monitoring Headquarters and chief editor of the opposition-leaning Ekho Mosvky radio station, ordered a revision of the net voting outcomes from Moscow. Venediktov stated Thursday that “no traces of hacking or ballot-stuffing have been detected.”

Nonetheless, some Kremlin critics stated that graphs and charts revealed by the Public Election Monitoring Headquarters to again its findings really indicated incidents of ballot-stuffing.

Navalny’s prime strategist, Leonid Volkov, on Thursday urged candidates and events, whose “victory was stolen,” to struggle on.

“The outcomes of unverifiable, fraudulent on-line voting in Moscow have to be utterly invalidated. In St. Petersburg and lots of different areas, votes have to be recounted. We assist all peaceable protests that can assist obtain this,” Volkov stated in a video assertion posted on YouTube.

“Candidates and events, whose victory was stolen, should struggle on. Nobody will do it for them. We are going to assist them, and individuals who voted for them will assist them,” Volkov stated.

Individually, greater than 500 ballot staff and election displays in Moscow signed an open letter to Venediktov, urging him to invalidate the outcomes of on-line voting within the Russian capital, denouncing it as a “rigging instrument.”

Russian Parliamentary Election Results
Folks react through the protest in opposition to the outcomes of 2021 Parliamentary Elections, hosted by Communist Celebration, on September 20, 2021 in Moscow. The poster reads: “United Russia stole the elections”. Russia has completed three days of legislative voting for a brand new State Duma, the decrease chamber of Parliament and Kremlin-backed social gathering of United Russia gained the elections.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Photographs

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