Kremlin called Navalny's participation in presidential elections harmful

Kremlin called Navalny's participation in presidential elections harmful
Alexey Navalny Photo: Alexey Abanin / Dozhd

The fact of participation of Alexey Navalny in 2018 Presidental elections as a candidate has not been considered in the Kremlin’s preparation campaign, as Dozhd sources say. As reported, the question on admission of the opposition leader to participation in the elections was discussed earlier, yet such a scenario was considered harmful.

The scenario of Head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation Alexey Navalny’s participation in the 2018 Presidential elections is not an issue of discussion in the Kremlin, as was reported by two Dozhd sources close to leadership of the Presidential Administration and confirmed by an official of federal level. A source told, some time ago, the question on possibility of admission of the opposition leader to participation in the elections in order to attract attention to the political event was being discussed. Yet, the leadership recognized such a scenario harmful.

"There was an opinion that Navalny's participation could increase voting turnout during the Presidential elections. However, calculations show that the turnout would increase by a few percent only, and the main intrigue would be whether he to get 5% or 10% of the votes. Of course, he would make much noise and splash out negative attitude, yet there would be no much benefit", - a source of Dozhd close to the leadership of the Kremlin Administration shared his opinion.

December 13, Navalny announced his intention to run for Presidency: he made an address to his supporters, issued basic tips of the election program, as well as announced start of raising funds for his campaign through online wallets.

The Kremlin considers this act as Navalny’s play with forecasts before the court decision is made, after which he is to lose his right to be elected. In 2013, Navalny was sentenced with a suspended 5-years term by the Kirov court under the notorious Kirovles case, losing the right to be elected. In February this year, the European Court of Human Rights found violations in his case. Later, the Supreme Court of Russia overturned the verdict and sent the case for retrial. Thus, Navalny could statnd for the elections. But if the reviewing of the case results in a term for Navalny once again, he will loose his right to run for the Presidency. Three sources close to the Kremlin said they expect such a scenario for the oppositionist.

Now, the Kremlin is looking for other ways to increase voting turnout, for example, by holding referendums in the regions, as reported by sources in the Presidential Administration.

"There is no doubt the Kremlin is afraid of Navalny's participation in the elections, this was a reason for initiation of the Kirovles firs case. I think there is still no intention to allow him to do that, as the Kremlin understands perfectly that Navalny is the only opposition candidate, who will run a real campaign without taboo issues, and he will not play at give-away,”- says Kira Yarmish, a spokeswoman of Navalny.

She also added that Navalny’s election campaign team does not take Kremlin’s fears into account, and will run the campaign and collect money for it in any case.

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