Meet The Man Who Can Change Vladimir Putin As Russia’s President

Moscow, Russia:  Hundreds of Russians on Sunday endorsed the candidacy of Alexei Navalny, seen as the one Russian opposition chief who stands a preventing likelihood of difficult strongman Vladimir Putin in a March vote.

Hundreds of people that again the charismatic 41-year-old lawyer had been assembly in 20 Russian cities to appoint him as a candidate within the presence of electoral officers to spice up his possibilities of making the presidential vote.

In Moscow alone, greater than 700 individuals supported Navalny’s candidacy as they gathered in an enormous tent arrange in a picturesque park on the snow-covered banks of the Moscow River.

“I’m massively comfortable, I’m proud to inform you that I stand right here as a candidate of all the Russia,” the plucky Western-educated lawyer advised supporters on the Moscow occasion which at occasions felt like a US marketing campaign convention.

“We’re able to win and we are going to win these elections,” Navalny mentioned earlier than ending his speech in a cloud of confetti.

Two members of the Central Election Fee attended the Moscow occasion, Navalny’s marketing campaign mentioned.

Earlier Sunday supporters in different Russian cities additionally endorsed his candidacy, together with greater than 800 individuals within the southern metropolis of Rostov-on-Don, greater than 900 within the Urals metropolis of Yekaterinburg and over 700 in Novosibirsk in Siberia, his marketing campaign mentioned.

Electoral officers have deemed Navalny ineligible to run as a result of a prison conviction, saying “solely a miracle” would assist him get registered.

Navalny, who has tapped into the anger of a youthful technology who grew up below Putin and yearn for change, hopes that widespread help for his Kremlin bid would strain authorities into placing his identify on the poll.

– ‘Thwart dishonest elections’ –

An impartial candidate wants no less than 500 votes to get registered with election authorities, in line with laws. 

Navalny has mentioned he would get no less than 500 Russians in every of the 20 cities to help his candidacy to make it more durable for the authorities to reject his bid.

Putin, 65, introduced this month that he’ll search a fourth presidential time period, which might prolong his rule till 2024 and make him the longest-serving Russian chief since dictator Joseph Stalin.

Opposed by token opposition candidates, he’s broadly anticipated to sail to victory.

On Sunday, Navalny reiterated his risk to name for a boycott of the polls if he didn’t get registered.

“Thwart the elections if they’re dishonest,” he mentioned.

With the results of the March vote a foregone conclusion, turnout might be low, harming Putin’s hopes for a transparent mandate, observers say.

“If Navalny will not be allowed to run I’m not going to vote,” pensioner Marina Kurbatskaya advised AFP in Moscow. “I do not see anybody else who I need to grow to be president.”

Navalny has constructed a sturdy protest motion within the face of persistent harassment and jumped by way of a number of hoops as he campaigned throughout the nation in an effort to shift attitudes amid widespread political ennui.

He says he’s the one Russian politician who has run a real Western-style political marketing campaign, stumping for votes in far-flung areas. 

Many critics scoff at Navalny’s Kremlin bid however the anti-corruption blogger says he would beat Putin in a free election if he had entry to state-controlled tv, the principle supply of stories for a majority of Russians.

– ‘Want new president’ – 

Navalny shot to prominence as an organiser of giant anti-Putin rallies that shook Russia in 2011 and 2012 following claims of vote-rigging in parliamentary polls.

The rallies progressively died down however he has been capable of breathe new life into the protest motion this 12 months, bringing out tens of hundreds of principally younger protesters onto the streets.

“Navalny is the one actual opposition candidate,” Sergei Dmitriyev, 60, advised AFP within the second metropolis of Saint Petersburg the place greater than a thousand supporters gathered to help Navalny’s bid.

“We’d like a brand new president,” added Alexander Semyonov, 18.

Regardless of a litany of issues equivalent to corruption, poor healthcare and growing poverty, opinion polls recommend Putin enjoys approval rankings of 80 p.c.

Requested why Navalny had been barred from operating, Putin – who has refused to say him by identify in public — mentioned the opposition hoped for a “coup” however wouldn’t succeed.

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