Sep 13, 2020 - World

Russians vote in polls targeted by Putin critic Alexei Navalny

A man votes at a polling station during early voting in the Kostroma Region's gubernatorial election.

A man votes at a polling station in the Kostroma region's gubernatorial election Sunday. Photo: Vladimir Smirnov/TASS via Getty Images

Russians were voting Sunday in local elections seen as a test in the popularity of President Vladimir Putin and the ruling United Russia party that supports him ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.

Why it matters: The polls come weeks after Russian opposition leader and Putin critic Alexei Navalny was found to be poisoned with nerve agent Novichok — a calling card of the Russian security services. Navalny had backed United Russia's "key challengers" and was promoting a tactical "smart voting" system before he fell ill, the BBC notes.

Of note: Navalny was taken out of a medically induced coma in Germany last Monday but remains in the hospital under police protection.

  • Russia denies that any crime took place.
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