ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- An activist who publicly supports jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's Smart Voting system says he was detained and pressed to disclose information on others by police in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg.
Nikita Ilyin told the OVD-Info rights group that he was detained on August 29 while holding a poster saying: "Let's throw United Russia out of the [State] Duma. Smart Voting" during a single-person picket he was involved in.
Such demonstrations do not require preliminary permission from authorities.
Navalny and his associates have been calling voters in Russia to use the Smart Voting system to support candidates in the elections to defeat Kremlin-linked figures and candidates for United Russia, the ruling party, backed by President Vladimir Putin.
Ilyin said police wanted him to provide personal data on his friends, which he refused to do, saying that he wanted to use his constitutional right not to answer. He was then charged with violating pandemic regulations and released.
Separately on August 29, a leading member of the unregistered Another Russia party, Mikhail Aksel told OVD-Info that party member Kirill Iunchuk and the leader of the Mars nationalist movement, Dmitry Moralikov, were detained while walking in central St. Petersburg and charged with minor hooliganism for "speaking loudly in public."
On September 19, Russia will vote to choose members of the Russian parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, 39 regional parliaments, and nine regional governors.
In the run-up to the voting, the Kremlin has cracked down on opposition political figures and independent media as the popularity of United Russia and Putin has been declining amid the Kremlin's flagging efforts to deal with an economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic and years of ongoing international sanctions.
Supporter Of Navalny's Smart Voting System Detained In St. Petersburg
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