Whispers of Defiance: Opposition Rallies Amidst Putin’s Expected Victory

The faint echoes of dissent reverberate through the streets of Russia as the nation grapples with the culmination of a three-day presidential election set to reaffirm Putin’s hold on power.

Silent Signs of Protest Against Putin

In Russia, today marks the end of the three-day presidential election, where the winner is likely to be Putin once again. The opposition took advantage of the day for protest. Reports indicate there were several arrests in multiple cities.

Long queues formed outside Russian polling stations. At 12 pm noon, Julia Navalny, the widow of Alexei Navalny, encouraged as many people as possible to gather.

It is still unclear how many across Russia responded to the call. The official reports make no mention of the action. Russian exile media have urged people to send videos and photos. Documentation reveals that in cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, or Yekaterinburg, a few dozen people gathered outside various polling stations at noon local time.

Arrests in Several Cities

A RusNews reporter spoke with young women outside a polling station in Novosibirsk. One said, “The election result is predictable, but we did what we could, supported the opposition, and voiced our opinion.” Another woman stated, “There are mainly young people inside the polling station right now. People are coming, so I recommend everyone to come and see with their own eyes that there are people in the polling stations at 12 o’clock.”

There were also arrests outside a polling station in Krasnodar, as shown in an amateur video. Activists report that individuals in other Russian cities were also taken away by security forces. It remains unclear if the arrests are connected to the noon-time action.

Doubts about the Voter Turnout Numbers

For the past two and a half days, the official election coverage has mainly focused on presenting the voter turnout. On the morning of the third day of voting, the nationwide turnout was reported to be over 60 percent. Independent Russian election observers from the organization “Golos” doubt the accuracy of these numbers. The organization’s co-chair, Roman Udot, analyzed the election commission’s figures for the Exile broadcaster “Dozhd” and found anomalies that he believes are hard to explain through natural voting behaviors.

“In Moscow, we see no anomalies. The voter turnout increases randomly, chaotically, as people arrive at the polling stations. Moscow is a vigilant city with many observers. In Dagestan, it seems people voted in a lined-up manner. It appears they were instructed, ‘Now 36 percent need to appear here.’ And promptly, that number is reported. See these steps. It rises step by step,” explains Udot.

First Counting Results in the Evening

Politician Boris Nadezhdin has also cast his vote by now. He aimed to run for president himself but was not permitted. At his polling station, numerous supporters greeted him and chanted his name.

His advice on the final election day is, “I believe the Russian people today have a chance to show what they think of the current situation. To not vote for Putin but choose someone else, as I have done.” He did not specify which of the three candidates, other than Putin, he was referring to. None of the options present can be deemed a true competitor to Putin.

By the evening, the first counting results will be announced, most likely confirming the winner. However, online photos also circulate showing ballots with Russians writing “Navalny,” “Boycott,” or “Putin – Murderer.” The actual number remains undisclosed by the election commission, a secret to be kept.