Russian Federation targets Alexei Navalny with mass raids

Alexei Navalny shows his ballot as he arrives to vote during a city council election in Moscow on Sunday

Alexei Navalny shows his ballot as he arrives to vote during a city council election in Moscow on Sunday

Law enforcement agents across Russian Federation have raided more than 200 homes and offices of opposition leader Alexei Navalny's supporters days after his tactical voting campaign embarrassed the ruling party in regional elections.

The co-ordinated police action came just days after Mr. Navalny's supporters showed their growing clout via a municipal election Sunday in Moscow.

A still image taken from video footage shows a masked law enforcement officer addressing journalists during a raid on a local office of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, in Perm, Russia, on September 12, 2019.

More than 200 raids have taken place across Russian Federation, from Vladivostok on the Pacific to Krasnodar in Russia's southwest, as part of an investigation into supposed money laundering, Navalny said.

The anti-Kremlin activists have also linked the mass raids to Navalny's tactical voting strategy, which urged supporters to cast ballots for candidates most likely to beat Kremlin-backed candidates in Sunday's election.

Alexei Navalny's supporters were facing a Moscow crackdown.

Alexei Navalny's supporters were facing a Moscow crackdown
Alexei Navalny's supporters were facing a Moscow crackdown

Leonid Volkov, another senior Navalny ally, published a list of towns and cities where activists had been targeted.

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's spokeswoman, said on Thursday that the scale and nature of the latest raids were unprecedented.

Lyubov Sobol, a 31-year-old lawyer who emerged as a leader of the protest movement over the summer while Mr. Navalny was serving a 30-day jail sentence, used her Twitter accounts to warn that Russians needed to pay attention to what was happening Thursday.

"The overall number of searches is over 150 and no less than 1,000 Russian law enforcement employees were involved (in the raids)", Volkov wrote. Election officials barred him from running for president in 2018 due to an embezzlement conviction that he claims was politically motivated.

"The state has two tasks - to frighten and steal", Volkov wrote. "It's obvious that the aim of this operation is to destroy our headquarters structure and to obstruct the work of our [regional] headquarters".

Election monitoring group Golos reported that homes of three of its regional coordinators had been raided.

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