WASHINGTON — The prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalny, has called for supporters to rally and protest a recently rigged election.
Reuters reported that Navalny accused Putin’s government of rigging the election in Moscow’s mayoral race. Kremlin and Putin ally Sergei Sobyanin barely cleared the 50% threshold to win the mayor’s office outright. Navalny challenged the outcome and demanded a run-off election.
Navalny was Sobyanin’s opponent and surprised everyone with a 27% showing at the polls. This came after Russia endured significant protests to protest electoral fraud up to 19 months ago, where Navalny emerged as a strong voice of the opposition.
Navalny, who barely avoided prison time with what he said were trumped-up charges brought by Putin allies, said:
“We call on all honest citizens who care about the city’s fate to come along today to the officially sanctioned rally in Bolotnaya Square to support our demands and wait for the outcome of the negotiations”