Campaign diary

More arrests ahead of Sunday’s rallies

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Liliya Chanysheva, Navalny’s campaign coordinator in Ufa, with a pile of rally refusals

by Sarah Hurst

Courts in several regions of Russia handed out jail sentences to Navalny supporters today, as a crackdown ahead of planned protests on Sunday intensified. Navalny’s campaign coordinator in Orsk, Alexei Kozlov, was jailed for five days for refusing to allow police into the local campaign offices on January 24. His campaign coordinator in Ufa, Liliya Chanysheva, was also jailed for five days for making social media posts calling for people to participate in unsanctioned rallies. Navalny tweeted a picture of Chanysheva and said that she was jailed because Putin is afraid of her and people like her.

On January 23 Chanysheva published a one-minute video addressed to the head of Bashkortostan, Rustem Khamitov, in which she pointed to a pile of over 800 refusals that she said regional authorities had sent in response to requests to hold rallies, including the one on January 28. “Besides the fact that the government violated the deadline for responding and refused to let us hold events without suggesting any alternatives as they are obliged to by law, local police also run after our activists and try to scare them,” she said. “What’s happened, Mr. Khamitov? Has the Constitution stopped working in our region, or are you afraid of a fuss?”

In St. Petersburg Yelizaveta Merkulova, a Navalny supporter, was jailed for three days for participating in the anti-corruption rally in the city on October 7 – an apparently random decision by the authorities almost four months after the event. These are almost certainly not going to be the last arrests this weekend.

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