Helena Lyng Blak
10 weeks ago

Noon Against Putin: A subtle protest

On Sunday, a specter may be haunting the Russian election.
Alexei Navalny
Gregory Stein / Shutterstock.com

Vladimir Putin is expected to win another term as president this weekend, coinciding with the Russian presidential election.

The Washington Post reports that between 52% (according to an independent polling agency) and 82% (according to a pro-Kremlin, state-owned polling agency) of Russians are trusting and planning to vote for Putin.

The election will proceed without Putin's fiercest and most prominent domestic opponent, Alexei Navalny, who died in an Arctic penal colony at the end of February.

Navalny had been campaigning for the presidential election when he disappeared from the penal colony where he was being held in early December. He was rediscovered at the “special regime” colony in late December and remained there until his death.

A political testament

On February 1, just weeks before his death, Navalny managed to post on X, marking his final political act. He wrote, as per Politico, “I like the idea of anti-Putin voters going to the polling stations together at 12 noon. At noon against Putin”.

The protest, now dubbed “Noon Against Putin,” is intended as a way to visibly demonstrate Russian opposition to Putin in a manner that cannot be hidden or censored, potentially calling into question the election's legitimacy. A Russian newspaper referred to the protest as “Navalny’s political testament.”

“Well, what can they do?” Navalny asked, according to The Washington Post. “Will they close the polling stations at noon? Will they organize an action in support of Putin at 10 a.m.? Will they register everyone who came at noon and put them on the list of unreliable people?”

Whether or not the protest will actually occur and to what extent remains to be seen.

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