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Kremlin Denies Obstructing Navalny's Election Campaign


Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny (center)

The Kremlin has rejected opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s claim that President Vladimir Putin and his administration are coordinating efforts to thwart his campaign for the March 2018 presidential election.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Dozhd television channel on November 2 that the presidential office has nothing to do with the issuance of official permissions to organize mass gatherings in Russian cities and towns.

The comments came a day after Navalny said that in recent days, authorities across Russia have refused to let him and his team organize public meetings with voters.

Navalny wrote on his website that he has no doubt that the obstacles are being "coordinated" personally by Putin, asserting that the president is concerned by the number of people attending his rallies.

He said he plans to sue Putin and his administration.

He also said that his staff would start holding campaign meetings on private land to avoid the need to obtain permission from local authorities.

Navalny is campaigning for the election in defiance of officials who have said he is not eligible to run because of a felony embezzlement conviction that he says was politically motivated.

Putin, who has held power as president or prime minister for 18 years, has not announced his candidacy but is widely expected to seek a fourth Kremlin term.

His control over the levers of power would make his reelection a foregone conclusion.

Navalny, who has riled the Kremlin with reports alleging corruption in Putin's government, received 27 percent of the vote in a Moscow mayoral election in 2013.

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