Navalny letter announcing election app published as Russians prepare to head for polls

Photo: Team Navalny

Photo: Team Navalny

The team of late Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny released a letter that he wrote shortly before his death last month on Thursday introducing an app designed to help Russians randomly vote against Putin.

The Photon-24 app, which randomly assigns the app user a presidential candidate to vote for, would help counter “pointless discussion of how to vote”, Navalny wrote.

Calling on people to vote “for any candidate” other than Putin, Navalny acknowledged that “mathematically or politically” it didn’t matter how people voted, as the three alternative candidates permitted to stand were “fake”. Navalny suggested voting for the other candidates “evenly, without singling anyone out” to prove that Russians “do not want Putin for a fifth term”.

The app also delivers updates about the Noon Against Putin campaign, according to which anti-Putin Russians plan to head to the polls en masse at midday on Sunday to show the strength of anti-war feeling and frustration at Putin’s decades in power.

Navalny wrote the post while imprisoned in a penal colony in Kharp in Russia’s far northern Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district. Navalny requested that the piece be published before voting starts on March 15.

Voting in Russia’s presidential election begins on Friday and will last until Sunday.

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