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A pepper spray it was a indispensable utensil for many candidates of the opposition 2020 Coalition at the time of going out to ask for the vote in Novosibirsk, capital of Siberia. “Justice has refused to open a investigation criminal for the poisoning of Alekséi Navalni, and the local government forces have interpreted that they had green light to attack us, “he complains Sergei Boiko, at the head of this political formation, with a thirty candidates to the municipal assembly. This Sunday, the voters of 40 regions from Russian Federation are called to the polls to elect their governors, local deputies and councilors.

“It has been the dirtiest campaign that I remember”, has confirmed Vasili Bolnujin, editor-in-chief of the portal Taiga-Info’. “A masked man threw a boat with a chemical substance at our headquarters that forced us to evacuate and hospitalize a person; thugs have destroyed propaganda posts, they have even bitten one of ours “, denounced Boiko.

The Navalni poisoning, which occurred when he was returning from a tour of this region to 3,000 kilometers from Moscow, has attracted the attention in Elections that normally do not interest voters and that tend to go unnoticed by the press. On this occasion, the call is interpreted as a test for the ability of the Russian political system to continue generating official majorities, at a time of decline in popularity of Vladimir Putin.

According to observers, unofficial candidates could achieve good results in Novosibirsk and Magadanin the Far East, while the governors of the Komi regions, in the north, and Irkutsk, also in Siberia, face challenges to continue. “We ask for the vote for the best placed to defeat the government candidate,” he explained from Berlin to EL PERIÓDICO Leonid Volkov, former Navalni campaign chief.

Political life in the regions

Novosibirsk, the third Russian city, with a population equivalent to Barcelona, reflects how the political life and economical in the regions. “In Moscow or St. Petersburg there is more money and the volume of corruption is greater, but here the system is more opaque; public contracts are closed without auctions; there are entire sectors of the economy controlled by deputies or officials with connections that they legislate to protect their interests “, has revealed Boiko.

Navalni himself denounced during his stay in Novosibirsk that a third of the councilors are in front or are related to construction companies. Igor, who prefers not to reveal his last name, recalls how a relative bought a van to transport to the market but was expelled from the business by a company supported by the local government.

In theory, the governors They are elected, but in reality “they are appointed by the Kremlin and must have the approval of the local FSB (former KGB), which observes their actions,” he explained. Yaroslav Vlasov, a reporter for Taiga-Info. This way of understanding the center-periphery relations – Vlasov continues – “causes that in the end, regional leaders govern with the Kremlin in mind and do not answer for their actions before the voters.”

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