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Hundreds Of Navalny Leaflets Confiscated In Kazan

Aleksei Navalny
Aleksei Navalny

KAZAN, Russia -- Officials with the regional Center For The Fight Against Extremism (Center E) in the capital of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan, have confiscated hundreds of leaflets in which opposition politician and anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny is calling for a boycott of the March 18 presidential election, Navalny's office in the region says.

Elvira Dmitriyeva, the head of Navalny's office in Kazan, told RFE/RL that the officials confiscated 537 leaflets on January 23.

Dmitriyeva added that the officials also asked her if Navalny's supporters were planning rallies on January 25, when Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Kazan.

Dmitriyeva said she told the officials that no rallies were planned for that day but added that a public protest is being planned by Navalny's office on January 28.

On January 18, police confiscated similar leaflets in the Volga regional city of Cheboksary and detained a teenage Navalny supporter, Vasily Kaverin, for hours for distributing the leaflets.

Navalny himself said that the same day police searched his office in St. Petersburg.

Navalny, a vocal opponent of President Vladimir Putin, called for the boycott of the presidential poll after election authorities in December barred him from running for president because of a criminal conviction he says was fabricated.

His supporters plan to organize mass rallies across Russia on January 28 to protest against the decision.

Putin, who has been president or prime minister since 1999, is seeking a fourth term in the upcoming election.

Kremlin critics say most of the other candidates are window-dressing in a vote Putin is certain to win in Russia's tightly controlled political environment.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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