News of the Day: 17 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Friday reported 19,905 new coronavirus cases and 791 deaths.

The Guardian: Russians will head to the polls beginning on Friday for parliamentary elections that could serve as a platform for popular anger over the economy, a crackdown on dissent and the government response to the coronavirus pandemic. But the ruling party, United Russia, is likely to find a way to maintain a stranglehold on its control of the State Duma.

The Guardian: Supporters of the jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny have accused Google and Apple of capitulating to Kremlin pressure after the two tech companies deleted his tactical voting app from their online stores.

The Moscow Times: The Kremlin praised Google and Apple’s move to take down jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s tactical voting strategy apps on Friday, saying the “Smart Voting” recommendations harm voters.

RFE/RL: Now voters in the region more than 6,000 kilometers east of the capital are going to the polls in an early election to fill Furgal’s spot, and the Kremlin seems determined to make sure the way is clear for Degtyaryov to keep his seat.

RFE/RL: Andrei Biryukov, a member of the regional election commission of Siberia’s Kemerovo region, says he has discovered procedural violations in all 12 polling stations around the town of Guryevsk (population 24,000). Moreover, he believes the irregularities were intentional, aimed at facilitating falsification of the ongoing elections in Russia.

RFE/RL: Budget-sector workers in Russia were pictured flocking to polling stations across the country as voting in nationwide legislative elections began.

The Moscow Times: This weekend, Muscovites hoping to vote for Communist Party (KPRF) candidates in elections to Russia’s State Duma will have to be careful to tick the right box. In the Russian capital, KPRF candidates Vitaly Petrov, Nikolai Volkov and Anastasia Udaltsova will run against Vasily Petrov, Alexei Volkov and Anna Udalova, all from the much smaller Communists of Russia party. 

The Moscow Times: Russia’s three-day voting periods are likely here to stay, the head of the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said Friday, a move that critics warn will make it easier to commit voter fraud. 

Human Rights in Ukraine: The Russian Third Court of Appeal has upheld an illegal 11-year sentence passed by an occupation court against Ivan Yatskin, a Ukrainian living in his native Crimea. The charge was of ‘state treason in the form of spying’ (under Article 275 of Russia’s criminal code), with both Yatskin’s arrest and the shocking sentence almost certainly because of his pro-Ukrainian position and opposition to Russian occupation. Yatskin and his wife, Gulnara have three small children, including a daughter who was born after her father’s arrest. 

The Moscow Times: Russia’s Foreign Ministry claimed Friday that the Soviet invasion of Poland during World War II was an act of liberation, reanimating a years-old debate over a secret Hitler-Stalin pact to carve up Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

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