Campaign diary

Alfa Bank freezes Navalny’s donations after court ruling

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One more judge rules against Alexei Navalny today. Screenshot from video by Mykhailo Komadovsky

by Sarah Hurst

Alfa Bank has frozen an account belonging to Alexei Navalny’s election campaign foundation Fifth Time of Year after Moscow’s Meshchansky court ruled today that the foundation should be dissolved, upholding a request by Russia’s Justice Ministry. Navalny’s campaign chief, Leonid Volkov, said on Twitter that there was no need for Alfa Bank to respond so quickly because Navalny still has 30 days to appeal the ruling, which won’t even be officially sent to the campaign until tomorrow.

The court came up with a variety of reasons for dissolving the foundation, including that it should not have been collecting Russians’ personal data, and that it had been receiving donations in bitcoin – although Navalny’s lawyers said that the foundation had no technical ability to process bitcoin donations.

Meanwhile, a middle-aged man identifying himself as “intergalactic presidential candidate” Sergei Osipov appeared in court requesting to be included in the case, saying that dissolving the foundation would violate his rights. Osipov suggested that Navalny could put forward his candidacy in space, via Osipov’s “Edemirsa” empire. The judge refused to allow Osipov to participate in the proceedings.

Referendum for children

Also today Navalny released a video addressing schoolchildren, informing them that Moscow authorities had decided to hold a referendum for children on the day of the presidential election, March 18, asking them if they want a six-day school week. By attracting children to vote on something they care a lot about, the ploy will also bring parents to vote in the presidential election, Navalny said.

“These people have been sitting in power for 18 years already, and they’ve lost the trust of the people to such an extent that they need some kind of referendum to drag them to the polling stations,” Navalny said. “If that’s the way it is, our task is to ensure as few people as possible participate in the re-election of Putin,” he concluded.

Apparently in response to Navalny’s video, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that the children’s referendum was not being held to increase election turnout, but the other way around: children decided to hold their referendum on the day of the election to try to get more pupils participating.

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