Putin’s ally re-elected Moscow mayor amid pension protests

Frederick Owens
September 11, 2018

Officers held dozens more as protests kicked off in eastern Russian Federation and Siberia, with demonstrations set to take place in Saint Petersburg and Moscow in the afternoon.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the police acted in accordance with the law in response to unauthorized protests.

Ahead of the vote a Moscow court jailed Navalny for 30 days, just a couple weeks before he planned to stage a rally against a deeply controversial pension reform on election day.

As in previous rallies, numerous protesters were young, including minors, and pictures of the police manhandling teens went viral on social media.

The results came during September 9 elections across Russian Federation that were held as police detained more than 1,000 people at antigovernment protests.

Putin's approval rating has slumped to its lowest in more than seven years over the plan to raise the pension age by five years for men and women, to 65 and 60 respectively.

The issue has galvanized citizens and initially hurt the popularity of President Vladimir Putin, who in August sought to quell the discontent by suggesting amendments to dilute the proposal.

Supporters of Alexei Navalny, the leader of the liberal Russian Federation of the Future party, were quick to slam the US-based multinational company for what they described as a surrender in the face of illegal demands made by the administration of President Vladimir Putin, Efe news reported.

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The rallies got started in the Far East and Siberia when it still was early morning in Moscow, where a downtown demonstration in the afternoon ended in scuffles when riot police stopped participants from marching to the Kremlin.

Sunday's rallies, which had been called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were held in dozens of towns and cities across Russian Federation.

In addition to the federal administrative areas - including the city of Moscow - that were electing regional heads in the September 9 polls, 16 regions were electing legislatures, while other areas were holding mayoral and other local ballots.

Their compliance with the request also came after Russian Federation warned the company last week that "meddling" in the Sunday elections could result in court action, according to AFP. However, analysts say it's unlikely that they will have an impact on results, as opposition candidates have been barred from standing.

Navalny was jailed last month after orchestrating plans to lead Sunday's protest in Moscow.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, incumbent mayor Sergei Sobyanin cruised to a comfortable re-election with 69.54 percent of the vote, while Vadim Kumin from the Communist Party came second with 11.65 percent.

However, United Russia lost the first place to the Communist Party in the republic of Khakasia and Irkutsk and Ulyanovsk oblasts.

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