Published On: Fri, Sep 13th, 2019

Russia news: Putin sends army of 1,000 police to quash mastermind of election humiliation | World | News

Electronic equipment was confiscated, staff from Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation were questioned and homes of coordinators were raided across Russia. Offices were raided in Yekaterinberg, Novorinsk and Voroneszh to name a few, with approximately 1000 police officers involved. The raids, according to one close ally of Navalny, were the result of an alleged money laundering investigation opened last month into Navalny’s FBK organisation. The investigators accuse Navalny and his organisation of laundering £12.5million and have frozen numerous bank accounts belonging to FBK. FBK say the raids were politically motivated, with Navalny citing Putin’s election disaster as the motivation.

He said: “Putin is very upset, he’s stamping his feet. Can you recall an operation of this scale across the country against corruption or terrorists, or drug dealers?”

Navalny’s spokesperson also added: “These raids are an act of intimidation and theft.

“The only aim is to paralyse our work while we scrape the money together to rebuild with our accounts blocked.”

Last Sunday’s regional elections in Russia saw Putin’s United Russia lose over a third of their seats, going from a strong 40/45 seats to just 25.

A large reason for this was the ‘smart voting’ tactic orchestrated by Navalny.

He instructed the electorate to vote for United Russia’s nearest rivals regardless of personal political preferences.

This saw the Communist Party in Russia claim 13 seats with the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party earning a huge victory in the Khaborovsk region.

Russian officials accused Facebook and Google of interfering in the elections by allowing political advertising on their websites on Sunday.

Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said: “Such actions can be seen as interference in Russia’s sovereign affairs.”

Russian government officials had previously accused Western countries of encouraging the election protests in Moscow this summer.

READ MORE: Putin row grips Russia as election chief TASERED

Putin’s domineering approach seems to have mobilised increasing dissent in Russia.

His approval ratings have slipped down to 60 percent, still higher than most Western leaders.

The protests, tactical voting and all-round frustration from many in the world’s largest country has culminated in a significant blow at the ballot box for Putin.

Navalny’s masterstroke has clearly got under Putin’s skin, but he is now facing the consequences of his brave choice to challenge the autocratic Russian leader.

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