Prosecutors warn Muscovites against participating in anti-Putin election day protest

A billboard reading ‘Time to choose’. Moscow, 11 March. Photo: EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

A billboard reading ‘Time to choose’. Moscow, 11 March. Photo: EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

Prosecutors have warned a Moscow activist against participating in the Noon Against Putin election day protest, claiming to have found “signs of extremist activity” in the call for Russians opposed to Putin to head to the polls en masse at noon on Sunday.

The campaign, which was first proposed by the exiled Russian politician Maxim Reznik and was supported by opposition leader Alexey Navalny shortly before his death last month, calls for voters to go to the polls at midday on March 17 to demonstrate the scale of popular opposition to Putin in an election with no real alternative candidate allowed to stand.

In a letter to activist Maria Andreyeva, who previously took part in demobilisation protests in Moscow, prosecutors warned that the planned action “scheduled for noon at polling stations in Moscow” could lead to criminal liability for “obstructing the presidential election” and “participating in uncoordinated public events”.

Andreyeva posted the letter on her Telegram page on Wednesday evening, responding in a separate Telegram post: “We will vote as we see fit!”

Navalny’s team previously reported that fake messages about the alleged postponement of Noon against Putin were sent to potential voters. Similar messages were sent to Novaya Gazeta Europe staff. Navalny’s team urged Russians not to believe the messages, assuring voters that Noon against Putin would be going ahead as planned.

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