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‘Midday in opposition to Putin’, Molotov cocktails and dye in poll packing containers – how Russians protested the election | World Information

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Throughout three days of voting there have been scattered incidents of Russians defying authorities in acts of protest in opposition to Vladimir Putin.

The president is all however assured to win one other six-year time period in workplace, going through an absence of any credible opposition and amid reviews of voting irregularities.

Regardless of the seemingly preordained final result, some Russians engaged in acts of defiance to specific their opposition.

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Folks queue to vote round midday in Moscow. Pic: Reuters

‘Midday in opposition to Putin’

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Associates of Alexei Navalny, the opposition chief who was discovered {dead} final month, had urged voters to flip to vote on the identical time, noon on Sunday, as a symbolic protest.

It was a technique endorsed by Mr Navalny himself shortly earlier than his demise.

It was seen as a safer manner of demonstrating in a rustic the place freedom of speech has been repeatedly constrained, however the Kremlin beforehand warned of authorized penalties for anybody collaborating.

Queues of individuals fashioned on polling stations in Moscow, and Mr Navalny’s staff launched footage and movies of individuals crowding close to polling stations in cities throughout Russia round midday.

Nevertheless, it’s not clear what number of of these had heeded the decision and had been there for the “noon against Putin” demonstrations.

At the least 74 individuals had been arrested on Sunday throughout Russia, in response to OVD-Information, a bunch that displays crackdowns on dissent.

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Cheers for Yulia Navalnaya at anti-Putin protest

Protests had been held exterior Russia, the place residents had been voting at embassies.

Amongst them was Mr Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, who has turn out to be the face of the opposition after her husband’s sudden demise.

In Berlin, the place she joined the queue, she was welcomed with cheers and chants of “Yulia, Yulia” by the group.

In the meantime, exterior the Russian embassy in London, a number of individuals lined as much as solid their ballots.

Aleksandra Kallenberg, 19, advised Sky Information she queued for an hour to vote in her first election after arriving within the UK in October.

“I spoiled my poll. At the least the federal government will know they do not have our help. Whereas Putin is chief I can’t return to Russia however I hope to return when Russia is free,” she mentioned.

In Paris, rain didn’t cease hundreds of individuals from gathering exterior the embassy, whereas a big queue was reported exterior the consulate in Istanbul and a protest was reported within the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

Pics: Reuters/Telegram
Scattered protests have taken place throughout Russia. Pics: Reuters/Telegram

Pouring dye into packing containers – and Molotov cocktails

There have been reviews of Russians pouring dye into voting packing containers and lighting Molotov cocktails in scattered acts of protest in opposition to the election.

Russia’s electoral fee mentioned makes an attempt to spoil poll papers had been reported at 29 polling stations, together with 20 the place individuals tried to pour liquids into poll packing containers.

Chairwoman Ella Pamfilova mentioned there had additionally been arson makes an attempt at eight polling stations and the tried use of a smoke pellet at one other.

Russian media say two girls had been arrested after pouring inexperienced dye into poll packing containers on the outskirts of Moscow.

Such an act of protest may land them as much as 5 years in jail, authorities mentioned.

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“These are the strategies utilized by our traitors who fled the nation, who’re used each within the tail and within the mane by those that combat Russia,” Ms Pamfilova mentioned on Friday.

She described the protesters as “scum”.

Elsewhere, in a distant Urals area and within the metropolis of St Petersburg, protesters tried to destroy poll packing containers utilizing Molotov cocktails, state media reported.

‘Midday in opposition to Putin’

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Diana Magnay

Worldwide correspondent


“Midday in opposition to Putin” was Alexei Navalny’s final political request of the Russian individuals: Exit at midday on the final day of voting to point out that you simply’re in opposition to Putin.

Vote for anybody else, spoil the poll paper, do what you’ll, however the level being to queue to vote at that particular time so it’s recognized that there are nonetheless individuals in Russia who do not agree with Vladimir Putin and together with his hollowed out sham of a democracy.

Folks have come out at polling stations within the huge cities as midday rolled throughout Russia’s huge expanse.

Not in big numbers however they’ve come – in cities like Nizhny Novgorod, Omsk, Novosibirsk, St Petersburg and naturally Moscow.

It’s exhausting to estimate numbers, for queues of individuals at particular person polling stations however there may be sufficient social media video filtering by means of to point out that tons of presumably hundreds had turned up for midday. In Moscow definitely, the place international broadcasters and the primary information businesses are nonetheless working, there have been notable queues.

Some our staff spoke to in Moscow had been hesitant even to confess they had been heeding Mr Navalny’s name by turning up right now; in spite of everything, midday is nearly as good a time as any to solid your vote. However it’s nearly as good a manner of protesting as there may be, when protest is banned and the authorities warning on Friday already that any form of rally at midday could be thought-about a felony act.

This was by no means going to be a revolutionary second. That’s virtually inconceivable in wartime Russia now, though Russia’s extraordinary historical past does have precedent.

However “midday in opposition to Putin” was one other second to point out those that they don’t seem to be alone, to flex the opposition muscle – simply as individuals did after they queued to present their signatures to the anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin, or to put flowers at Mr Navalny’s grave.

It’s higher to do one thing than nothing in any respect, even when all it does is assist you to sleep higher at night time.

As per the {old} maxim which Mr Navalny himself would typically quote: “The one factor needed for the triumph of evil is for good males to do nothing.”

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