September 01, 2019

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View from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky across Avachinskaya Guba to the mountains southwest of Vilyuchinsk on a foggy day. Kuhmi (cc)

For years, Moscow Duma elections have come and gone with barely a whiff of political debate. But this year the September 8 polling has been the focus of keen interest, and has led to a crisis in the capital that may result in several people being sent to prison for years.

The city’s Duma, which has a special status, since Moscow is no ordinary municipality, has to this point been dominated by unknowns who rubber stamp decisions by the powerful mayor, Sergei Sobyanin. However, earlier this year a network of opposition activists vowed to put an end to this monopoly. Activists who were well-known in their neighborhoods collected signatures from supporters and mounted a campaign that sought to add opposition voices in the decision-making body.

This seemingly straightforward exercise of citizens’ democratic prerogative turned out to be in vain.


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