Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny has urged his supporters to go to the polls in next month’s regional elections.
In A blog post, Mr. Navalny said Monday that Russian President Vladimir V. He called on anyone who was not a member of Putin’s United Russia party to vote. He said it was important for Russians to continue participating in elections because “sooner or later, they will be held relatively freely in Russia.”
“We have to beat them,” Mr. Navalny continued. “This will not happen if we convince ourselves that elections have no meaning and importance and get used to not participating in them.”
Although the Kremlin has for years blocked all well-known opposition figures from appearing on the ballot, Mr. Navalny’s coordinated opposition-voting strategy has shown in previous elections that an opposition movement can still influence political events by coalescing around a particular candidate. This time, he said, the repression has reached such intensity that that strategy no longer makes sense – but there are still some opposition candidates on the regional ballot who deserve support.
Mr. Navalny’s appeal to protesters around the world, many of whom are Russian nationals, Mr. Putin’s grip on power came a day after he rallied against Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and continued detention of Russian government dissidents, including Mr. Navalny.
Protests have drawn crowds in cities in Europe and Australia, where Mr. Organized by Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation, the event commemorated the third anniversary of his poisoning.
In Berlin, to the Brandenburg Gate in the center of the city, Mr. A small crowd marched from the hospital where Navalny was treated. They are Mr. They carried signs and posters condemning Putin and expressing support for Ukraine.
“I feel that talking to people in Europe and the West is an important part of our work here,” said Mr. said Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s longtime chief of staff.
Still, polling in Berlin, it’s home A large population of Russian émigrés and a center of Russian exiles turned out to be smaller than others had expected.
“I feel we still have a lot of supporters, but many are very tired,” said Daria Dudley, a Russian national who lives in Berlin and has organized protests, including Sunday’s rally, with the anti-Russian-language Democracy-JA. A group based in Germany.
Russians who attended Sunday’s rally said they felt some responsibility to speak out from the relative safety they felt in Germany, particularly in support of jailed opposition figures. .
“We – everyone of Russian origin – are at least responsible for what is happening,” said Natasha Ivanova, 49, who is Russian but has lived in Germany for decades. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, he said he could not continue to “watch in peace”, adding that “I will not stop speaking out because of fear”.