Campaign diary

Navalny attacks election fraud in North Caucasus republics

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Alexei Navalny with an image of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in his video today

by Sarah Hurst

The minority ethnic republics of the North Caucasus and other parts of Russia are likely to produce the most fraudulent election results on March 18, and people there should act as observers to try to stop this, Alexei Navalny has said in a video published today. The heads of these republics – including Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Tatarstan – just think of a high number and claim this as the turnout, Navalny said.

Even the concept of fair elections in these republics has become a humiliating joke, but there are local residents who want things to be different, Navalny said, pointing to a protest in the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, that took place on January 28 as part of the nationwide protests he organised. A speaker said that election observers often aren’t allowed into polling stations or are chased out of them and the real turnout is more like 10 percent.

Common enemy

“It doesn’t matter what your political views are. We’re not working for any political force now. On March 18 we’ll try together to stop them from faking a turnout,” Navalny said with a picture of Vladimir Putin on the screen next to him. “Our common enemy are the swindlers, fraudsters and people who humiliate entire nations trying to prove to everyone around them that these nations aren’t capable or don’t want to count those who come more or less honestly,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, last night the director of Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption, Roman Rubanov, was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and taken to a police station, where he spent the night ahead of a trial for his role in organising the protests on January 28. Late this evening he was sentenced to 10 days in prison. Navalny himself still has not been jailed in connection with those protests, but he has said he expects to be given a 30-day sentence sometime soon so that he will be in prison on election day.

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