Russian police on Thursday (September 12th) conducted massive searches across the country targeting collaborators of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny. He was involved this summer in a broad campaign of electoral protest against the exclusion of opposition candidates to local polls.
According to the main opponent of the Kremlin Alexei Navalny, who denounced the " hysteria " of Russian power, these massive searches would be due to the electoral setbacks of the ruling party in the local elections on Sunday 8 September in the Moscow capital .
According to one of his allies, the raids would be officially linked to an investigation into the alleged money laundering of 1 billion rubles (nearly 14 million euros) by the opposition's Anti-Corruption Fund. The case was launched in early August , while Moscow was shaken by demonstrations against the exclusion of opposition candidates in a local poll .
Seizures of material
" More than 200 searches " and seizures of material had touched the opponents' teams in " 41 cities of Russia, " tweeted Alexei Navalny. " This does not only affect the apartments of the coordinators and the offices, but also the homes of employees and active volunteers ," said Leonid Volkov, one of Navalny's allies on Twitter, adding that the police had interfered in the cities of Nizhny Novgorod, Vladivostok, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg.
Мне нужна историческая справка. Сегодня против нашей сети одновременно организовано более 200 обысков in 41 городе страны. Это рекорд с какого года? С 1937?Alexey Navalny (@navalny) September 12, 2019
At the polls, Sunday's local elections resulted in a scathing setback for pro-power candidates in Moscow, where they lost nearly a third of their seats compared to the previous term. Alexei Navalny called on voters to " vote smart " by supporting the best-placed candidates to beat those of the Kremlin .
Events of unprecedented scale
All the candidates of this opponent's team had been excluded from this ballot in Moscow. In response, they had strongly supported a series of unprecedented events since 2012 and firmly repressed by the authorities.
"They destroyed everything," tweeted one of the offices of the Navalny opponent's association
Просто все разгромили pic.twitter.com/SLrMPLtG2oШтаб Навального в Челябинске (@teamnavalny_che) September 12, 2019
Prevent the development of opposition in the provinces
Denouncing a " massive coup ", Kira Iarmych, her spokesperson, called the new searches " an act of intimidation " and " theft " to paralyze the work of her organization. Last week, the Moscow offices of their team and the recording studio had already been targeted by a search of hooded police.
The independent Golos movement, which specializes in election observation in Russia, also announced on the same day that it had been targeted by two police operations against its employees in the regions. According to the newspaper The Bell , these interventions would seek to prevent the development of the organization of Alexei Navalny in the province, to avoid electoral disappointments similar to that of Sunday in Moscow.