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The Kremlin’s Political Prisoners: #MoscowElectionCrisis

Aug 02 2019

Fearful of independent voices even at local levels, Putin’s regime disqualified every single pro-democracy candidate from participating in the Moscow City Council elections.

Fearful of independent voices even at local levels, Putin’s regime disqualified every single pro-democracy candidate from participating in the Moscow City Council elections.

All of these candidates had done an immense amount of work painstakingly collecting thousands of voters’ signatures and filing required paperwork. They had conducted their pre-election work in a very public way and energized millions of people across all Russian regions, who followed them over the social media.

Disqualification ploys included claims by authorities that signatures were fake and signators didn’t exist (including some pretty famous people who then had to prove they DO exist), to authorities manually altering all “1” in passport numbers to “4”, to misspelling names during database checks and even bribing print shops to change critical information on candidates signature collection sheets, rendering them invalid.

The reasons offered by authorities to explain disqualifications were so ludicrous, so disdainful and so obviously false, that they ignited a massive public uproar. 25,000 people moved to the streets to protest.

While protests remained peaceful and orderly, the authorities unleashed heavily armed riot forces of Rosgvardia, who have brutalized thousands, including children, the disabled and the elderly. They cracked people’s sculls against asphalt and applied maneuvers to intentionally break arms, legs and ribs.

1,500 people were arrested including the leaders of the Russian prodemocracy movement:

– Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, arrested for 30 days.

– Vladimir Milov, former deputy minister of energy and Navalny Live YouTube channel host who was broadcasting the rally on July 27, arrested for 30 days.

– Ivan Zhdanov, director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, sentenced to 15 days of imprisonment.

– Ilya Yashin, municipal deputy, sentenced to 12 days of imprisonment.

– Dmitry Gudkov, ex-State Duma deputy, arrested for 30 days.

– Alexander Soloviev, ex-chairman of the pro-democracy movement Open Russia, arrested for 8 days.

– Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Foundation, who is on a hunger strike since July was released that night.

– Konstantin Jankauskas, municipal deputy, sentenced to 7 days of imprisonment.

– Yulia Galyamina, municipal deputy, arrested for 10 days.

– Mikhail Svetov, the leader of the Libertarian Party of Russia, sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment.

– Mark Galperin, an activist, arrested for 30 days.

– Vadim Korovin, municipal deputy, sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment.

– Oleg Stepanov, a coordinator of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Movement office in Moscow, arrested for 8 days and immediately rearrested for 15 days as soon as he was released yesterday on August 1st.

Alexei Navalny fell ill while in custody of authorities, with symptoms strongly suggesting intentional poisoning. His doctors and lawyers were initially denied access and the size of his guarding convoy tripled. Navalny’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova released a statement from his long-time doctor saying that his symptoms were the result of “an undefined chemical substance.”

While in detention, some other arrested leaders were harassed and threatened by their cellmates who supposedly conspired with the police.

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Activatica.org (Estonia)Activatica.org (Estonia) Article 20 (Russia)Article 20 (Russia) Euromaidan SOS (Ukraine)Euromaidan SOS (Ukraine) Free Russia Foundation (U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Georgia)Free Russia Foundation (U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Georgia) Human Rights Foundation (United States)Human Rights Foundation (United States) Action for Post-Soviet Jewry (United States)Action for Post-Soviet Jewry (United States) Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice (United States)Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice (United States) Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University (United States)McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University (United States) Solidarus (Germany)Solidarus (Germany) Union of Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union (United States)Union of Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union (United States) Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (Canada)Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (Canada) NEP Prague (Czech Republic)NEP Prague (Czech Republic)