Opposition contenders in Russia taking on President Vladimir Putin in this weekend’s parliamentary elections hope that despite enduring an extended crackdown, they can still dent the dominance of United Russia. The vast majority the party has in the 450-seat Duma will continue whatever happens over the weekend, but the most high-profile opposition group, the movement of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny , insists gains can be made. “We don’t have a crystal ball,” Navalny’s key ally, Vladimir Ashurkov told Newsweek , “but whether we can get 50 independent deputies to the parliament, we will see. That would be a formidable achievement.” Despite being jailed in February for violating parole over a 2014 conviction he says was politically motivated, Navalny’s influence has reached beyond the bars he is held behind. However, the plans kicked off by his now-dissolved Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) to encourage voters to coalesce around those opposing United Russia, hit a considerable snag on Friday when Apple and Google removed the Navalny app promoting so-called “smart voting.” The app informed people in the country’s 225 districts which opposition candidate would be most likely to beat a United Russia contender, whatever the party. The app’s deletion is the latest chapter in… Read full this story
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