The movement of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny has urged voters to use the ‘Smart Voting’ app. This allows Russians to see which candidate they can best vote for so that the United Russia candidate is not elected.
That system has been dealt several sensitive blows in recent days. Yesterday, Apple and Google removed the application from their app store, at the request of the Kremlin. Today, Google is said to have been asked to remove three YouTube videos about ‘smart voting’, reports an associate of Navalny’s movement.
Telegram has also limited the option to use chatbots for the ‘smart voting’ system. This is remarkable, because the chat service is known as a sanctuary for opposition members that managed to hold its own despite interference from the Russian authorities. According to Telegram boss Pavel Durov, the chatbots are being suspended because no campaign should be conducted around the election process.
A major cause of Putin’s unpopularity is the poor state of the economy. Correspondent Iris de Graaf visited the inhabitants of Trubitsjino, where the inhabitants have had no running water or gas for 20 years:
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