Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Putin Allies Suffer Election Setbacks Amid Pensions Protests

22 regional Russian leaders including Moscow mayor to be chosen by voters on single election day An information banner by the electoral commission on the forthcoming Single Election Day
Faye Gross | 12 September, 2018, 13:16

Mr Navalny, Russia's most prominent opposition leader, planned to lead a protest in Moscow on Sunday, but last month a court sentenced him to 30 days in prison for breaking protest laws.

A Reuters reporter saw at least three people being detained. Around 50 supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is serving a month-long jail term over an earlier illegal protest, were detained ahead of the rallies, according to independent monitor OVD-Info.

Hundreds of people were arrested in Russian Federation on Sunday while participating in protests against pension reform.

The OVD-Info group, which tracks police detentions and posts the names of the detainees on its website, said Monday that 1,018 people were detained, almost half of them in St. Petersburg.

Plans to raise the state pension age to 60 for women and 65 for men has led to a rare outburst of public anger and seen Vladimir Putin's approval ratings take a hit.

In St. Petersburg, a crowd of around 1,000 people shouted "shame" and held signs calling for Putin's resignation.

Putin brushed off the results in the Primorye and Khabarovsk regions in Russia's Far East, the Siberian region of Khakasia, and the central Vladimir region.

Hurricane Florence Path Toward the East Coast Triggers States' Price-Gouging Laws
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Alburov said his detention caused him to miss his train to St. Petersburg, where he had planned to take part in a protest against the pension-reform plan.

United Russia also suffered defeats to the Communists in party-list votes for three regional parliaments.

The Moscow mayoral election is the highest-profile of the votes, but serious opposition candidates have been kept off the ballot paper in favour of incumbent Sergei Sobyanin.

In Moscow, however, authorities have implemented an aggressive get-out-the-vote campaign, including promises of free concert tickets to voters and setting up polling stations outside of the city to enable voters spending the summer at their dachas to participate. The president responded by offering some concessions, but argued that the age hike is necessary because rising life expectancy in Russian Federation could exhaust pension resources if the eligibility age remains the same.

The proposals have been heavily criticised by Russia's usually subservient press, with Moskovski Komsomolets, a popular Moscow newspaper, describing them as the "most unsafe and risky reform of President Putin's 20-year rule".

Officers held dozens more as protests kicked off in eastern Russian Federation and Siberia, with demonstrations set to take place in Saint Petersburg and Moscow in the afternoon.

This time he will face only low-profile candidates from the Communist Party, the nationalist LDPR and two other groups, with more vocal opponents barred under new rules.

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