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Navalny ally calls for protest on election day, Kremlin angered


Leonid Volkov, a close associate of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has called upon Russians to participate in a protest on election day next month, in defiance of President Vladimir Putin. This call to action follows Navalny's earlier plea, made just before his death, urging citizens to register their protest by voting simultaneously at noon on March 17. Navalny, who passed away in a penal colony in the Arctic on February 16, viewed this coordinated voting as a form of protest against Putin's regime. Volkov emphasized that this protest serves not only as a political statement but also as a commemoration of Navalny's legacy, marking it as his "direct political testament."

In a video posted on YouTube, Volkov reiterated the significance of fulfilling Navalny's final wish, transforming the protest into a symbolic act of mourning and remembrance. He urged supporters to mobilize and convince as many people as possible to participate in the protest, framing it as a crucial step in honoring Navalny's memory and continuing his fight against political oppression. This call to action comes amidst warnings from the Kremlin, which has labeled Navalny's allies as "dangerous US-backed extremists" and threatened legal consequences for those who heed their calls for protest.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov condemned Navalny's supporters for what he termed as "provocative" appeals to defy Russian laws. Peskov emphasized that responding to such calls would have serious legal and law enforcement repercussions. However, Navalny had strategically framed the protest, dubbed "Noon against Putin," as a lawful means of resistance, aimed at circumventing the risk of arrest by engaging in legal voting activities. Despite Putin's virtually assured victory in the upcoming election, with two anti-war candidates disqualified and the remaining contenders lacking substantial criticism of the president, Navalny's allies persist in their efforts to galvanize opposition and challenge Putin's authority.

Navalny's legacy continues to reverberate through Russian politics, as his allies navigate a precarious landscape of repression and resistance. The protest on election day stands as a testament to Navalny's unwavering commitment to democratic principles and opposition to authoritarian rule. By mobilizing citizens to exercise their right to vote in solidarity, Navalny's allies seek to defy the Kremlin's attempts to suppress dissent and uphold the values of democracy and accountability. Despite facing threats and intimidation from the authorities, Navalny's supporters remain undeterred, determined to honor his memory and continue the struggle for political change in Russia.

The call for protest underscores the enduring significance of Navalny's activism and the resonance of his message among ordinary Russians disillusioned with Putin's regime. As tensions escalate between the Kremlin and Navalny's allies, the upcoming election represents a pivotal moment in Russia's political landscape. The outcome will not only determine Putin's continued grip on power but also the strength of opposition forces seeking to challenge his rule. In honoring Navalny's final wish, Russians have an opportunity to stand united in defiance of authoritarianism and in defense of democratic principles.

Feb. 27, 2024 4:49 p.m. 1907

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