Alexei Navalny's Pre-election Tactics Worry the Authorities in Russia
The campaign of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the Russian province before the presidential elections in the spring is bordering civil disobedience, Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.
According to Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny's headquarters, local authorities in Russia most often refuse to allow declared rallies without offering alternatives. Navalny became known for corruption investigations among high-ranking officials of the Russian authorities and Kremlin oligarchs. He announced he would run for president, but a judicial verdict on financial abuse, which he believes is politically motivated, forbids him to participate in the elections. Volkov tells that opposition lawyers have appealed against unlawful lawsuits and have already won a number of such cases. Out of the 120 rallies this week, 75 refusals have been received, in 16 cities the municipalities have set a different time and date, 19 cities have no response, and 5 offer inappropriate terrain.
Navalny's headquarters will comply with the law and will only conduct authorized actions, "but we know the law and if the authorities do not respond in time, and not offer alternative terrain or not do it according to law, such action is considered to be consistent. with the position of the Supreme and the Constitutional Court "of Russia, says Volkov. "As an informal leader of the Russian opposition, Navalny has to show his firmness to go all the way, and every result is advertising, also the accusations that he himself is a project of Kremlin get dismissed", commented political scientist Konstantin Kalachov.
The determination of his team to go all the way will cause controversial accusations that Navalny puts people at risk and being just pawns for him, the expert adds. Navalny's tactics worry not only local authorities but also the federal center, he says. The opposition speaks with people in plain language, appeals to the majority, and their credibility grows, so "its rating may become a problem for the Kremlin," Kalachov argues in front of the newspaper quoted by the BBC.
According to analyst Nikolay Mironov, there was a tacit signal from Moscow, and the prohibitions for the Navalny rallies on the ground were inevitable. His team consciously goes against the system and provokes it somewhat, but "unauthorized actions are beneficial to the power itself - it can scare people through revolution and find the disagreements in the region." Volkov assumes that Navalny may be arrested somewhere in the province, but "the campaign will continue in any situation." According to political analyst Kalachov, however, the opposition's team will not gather many people without their leader. Meanwhile, Navalny has filed a request for an election rally in St. Petersburg on October 7, when is President Vladimir Putin's birthday, according to "Obshay Gazeta". The opposition has said he will meet his sympathizers even if the local authorities do not allow the action, and then organize a "peace procession".
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