Having a look in the course of the record of newly-elected deputies to the Moscow town council, I used to be stunned to peer the title Alexander Solovyov at the record.
I knew an Alexander Solovyov who used to be an affiliate of exiled former oligarch and Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and used to be, till lately, chairman of his Open Russia motion. So far as I knew, he used to be additionally in prison.
This used to be showed once I despatched him a textual content: “Alexander is imprisoned till the night of 24 September. Thank you.”
The Solovyov I knew used to be some of the liberal opposition activists barred from operating in Moscow Town elections. He were vocal within the protests which adopted and, like ratings of others, used to be then jailed for taking part in mass rallies. He had was hoping to run in Moscow’s District Quantity three.
So who used to be the Alexander Solovyov who had received in District Quantity three? Aside from a couple of hesitant marketing campaign movies, he looked to be an entire unknown. He additionally went to flooring without delay after his election win, prompting a media hunt to test whether or not he used to be even actual.
Victor Yemelyaninkov, head of the electoral fee for his space, informed us to forestall calling: “Everybody right here is looking me continuous. I do not know the place he’s or the place to search out him.”
Aleksey Obukhov, from the opposite Solovyov’s press group, is satisfied he used to be a spoiler.
“He used to be invented simply to remove the votes from the actual Solovyov. We ran his marketing campaign at the streets and the actual Solovyov used to be broadly recognised,” he mentioned.
“They have been searching for any individual with the similar title and surname from that space, and the one particular person they discovered used to be this engineer.”
Solovyov, the newly-elected deputy, re-surfaced on Thursday. He mentioned he had wanted a leisure after the election and were spending time together with his circle of relatives.
He brushed aside notions he used to be a spoiler candidate, pronouncing: “The opposite Solovyov began operating later and he may have run in a distinct electoral district.”
This Solovyov mentioned he had made up our minds to run in July, and had approached the ‘A Simply Russia’ birthday celebration as a result of he preferred their schedule and would no longer then want to collect the signatures to run as an unbiased.
Satirically, he can have snatched victory from the ruling birthday celebration candidate on account of the smart-vote gadget presented by means of Alexey Navalny and his anti-corruption group, FBK. This concerned electorate registering to peer who used to be in all probability to overcome the ruling birthday celebration candidate in any given district and tick that title at the poll.
In District quantity three, each the jailed Solovyov and Alexey Navalny had known as on electorate to again Solovyov over the incumbent. It appeared to paintings. Solovyov received. And throughout Moscow, United Russia took a success within the polls.
On Thursday, the state hit again. Masked safety males swinging sledgehammers performed raids at Navalny’s marketing campaign workplaces in additional than 40 towns throughout Russia.
Navalny HQ put the exceptional crackdown all the way down to the luck of the smart-vote scheme.
“Putin may be very indignant and is stamping his ft,” Navalny mentioned in a videotaped reaction.
“Do you bear in mind ever seeing in our nation an operation in this scale towards terrorism, corruption or drug sellers as you might be seeing now towards us? That will have to imply we are cooler than a drug cartel!”
As of closing month, Navalny’s basis is below investigation for alleged cash laundering. Navalny is promising the investigation may not quit him however it sounds as if as despite the fact that the state is searching for a strategy to care for the issue he and his pals constitute as soon as and for all.
The raids additionally ship a message to the areas, heard loud and transparent already in Moscow after a summer season of detentions and draconian prison phrases for an unfortunate few, that opposition is probably not tolerated.
If the crackdown round those elections belongs extra to Soviet occasions, spoiler applicants are a characteristic of the post-Soviet age.
The Solovyovs were not the one twins within the Moscow ballot. There used to be additionally a couple of Alexandra Andreyevas. It’s conceivable those are putting coincidences, however given the best way the Russian state stage-manages the democratic procedure, it does no longer appear most likely.
Whether or not or no longer he anticipated to win despite the fact that, Solovyov the deputy says he will give it the most productive he is were given.