Russia Bars Putin’s Chief Critic From Running For President

MItya Aleshkovskiy/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Aleksei Navalny said in a video statement that Putin is "horribly afraid" and "sees a threat" in his candidacy.

Aleksei A. Navalny, a known critic of Vladimir Putin, was officially barred from running in Russia's 2018 presidential election.

Twelve members of the 13-member Central Election Commission voted to bar Mr. Navalny from registering as a presidential candidate, citing his suspended prison sentence in a fraud case, a prosecution he has denounced as politically motivated. One member abstained from voting because of a possible conflict of interest.

Navalny expected the decision, as election officials had previously made statements indicating he would be ineligible, and he released a pre-recorded reaction to the news:

“We won’t have an election because Vladimir Putin is horribly afraid, he sees a threat in competing with me,” Mr. Navalny said in the video. “He gave an instruction to his servants from the Central Electoral Commission to reject my registration.”

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“We will campaign against this fake election and persuade people not to take part in it,” Mr. Navalny said in the video. “They don’t care whom you will vote for, they just want you to come and sign that you got your ballot sheet and thus recognized this procedure as an election.”

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