Agency: Five allies of Aleksei Navalny have been engineering an election shake-up from an undisclosed location outside Russia that they hope will put dozens of Kremlin critics in Parliament.
They want to use the parliamentary election, which runs from Friday to Sunday, to undermine President Vladimir V. Putin’s ruling United Russia party — even though just about all Navalny supporters are banned from getting on the ballot.
The strategy hinges on a “Navalny” smartphone app, which suggests an opposition candidate to vote for in each of the country’s 225 electoral districts. The chances are slim, but electing even a few dozen opposition lawmakers “creates turbulence in the system,” one Navalny ally said.
The odds: United Russia is almost certain to retain its majority in the lower house of Parliament, the Duma, because half of the 450 seats are apportioned by party list. The ruling party is sure to get the most votes, and Russian elections are rife with fraud.
The team: The Navalny allies are in exile because of the threat of lengthy jail sentences. They have been consulting polling data, dozens of regional experts and reports from the ground to determine the person best positioned to defeat the United Russia candidate in each district.