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Navalny’s Offices Raided Ahead Of Moscow Vote

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny (file photo)
Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny (file photo)

Russian law enforcement officers have raided the office of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, his live television studio, and his Moscow political headquarters, he and his allies wrote on social media.

Three people were taken to a police station but later released without giving statements.

National guardsmen "broke" into Navalny's political party headquarters on September 5 during a lecture on observing elections, Navalny associate Leonid Volkov said.

Officers arrived at the TV studio an hour before Navalny was scheduled to go on air to talk about "smart voting."

The raids came three days before the Moscow city council elections, a race in which many independent and opposition candidates -- including several Navalny allies -- were barred from running.

Their exclusions sparked weekly protests that have persisted since July in Moscow and other cities. Thousands have been detained and some sentenced to years-long prison terms.

Not more than 300 people attended an unauthorized demonstration in St. Petersburg on September 5 for similar reasons where a gubernatorial race will take place on September 8 as well elections to the local city council, according to Fontanka, an online news site that covers the city.

One protester, Yevgeny Musin, was detained with 4,000 leaflets urging voters not to vote for the acting Governor Aleksandr Beglov, an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Initially, 28 people declared their candidacy for the St. Petersburg governorship. Only three were admitted and confirmed.

Meanwhile, two high-ranking U.S. congressmen, Eliot L. Engel (Democrat-New York) and Michael McCaul (Republican-Texas), condemned Russia's "failure to hold free" local elections and "its crackdown on protesters," calling on authorities there to "cease all acts of violence against peaceful demonstrators."

Based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Russian service, Fontanka, and Washington Post