Russians protest Sunday in Lisbon and Porto against presidential “pseudo-elections”

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A group of Russian activists in Portugal are organizing protest rallies against the President of Russia this Sunday in Lisbon and Porto, one of the aims of which is to denounce the “pseudo-elections in March”, in which Vladimir Putin is running again.

This event is being promoted in at least 120 cities in 40 countries around the world by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, founded by Russian opponent Alexey Navalny.

In Portugal, the rallies are organized by the Association of Free Russians and will take place this Sunday in Lisbon, starting at 14:00 in Praça dos Restauradores, and in Porto, starting at 13:00 in Praça da Batalha.

Under the slogan “Russia without Putin”, as well as protesting against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the worldwide rallies aim to denounce the presidential “pseudo-elections” in Russia, scheduled for March and where the head of state is running again, Timofey Bugaevsky, one of the members of the association that was born in early 2023 in Portugal, told Lusa.

“An important part of the campaign against Putin is to spread the message that the regime is illegitimate. What they call elections have long since turned into pseudo-elections, because opposition candidates don’t actually take part, independent observers aren’t allowed and the results are massively falsified,” she said.

Timofey Bugaevsky, 42, also pointed out, in a written interview with Lusa, that in 2020 the Russian Constitution was changed and, thanks to this, Putin was able to run again.

“If he is elected this year, it will be his fifth presidential term. And now they are also taking place in the occupied [Ukrainian] territories,” he warned.

This movement aims to “involve as many Russians as possible in the active struggle against the regime” and, given the proximity of the presidential elections in Russia, the activists consider that “this is an important occasion to speak out”.

In August, the Association of Free Russians organized rallies in Lisbon and Porto under the slogan “Putin is a murderer” to condemn the Putin regime and the war in Ukraine.

For Sunday’s demonstrations in Lisbon and Porto, the Russian activists expect a large turnout, after “four months of work to develop the community”.

“There are more active people helping to organize this demonstration and we even managed to invite a famous guest from the Anti-War Committee [Marat Gelman],” said Timofey Bugaevsky.

For the activist, who has been in Portugal for more than two years, the movement’s main goal is to “increase the number of active citizens” at the grassroots of civil society in Russia.

“With every big action, new people join us,” he said.

This association of Russians in Portugal also continues to organize weekly protests at the Russian Embassy in Lisbon, producing videos about “initiatives to fight the regime” and spreading them online to “reach the greatest number of people”.

Vladimir Putin has been in power since 2000 and is seeking a fifth presidential term, having also served as prime minister between 2008 and 2012.

According to local polls, Putin is expected to win the March presidential elections with more votes than in 2018, when he secured around 76% of the vote.

The Russian opposition, whose leader Alexei Navalny is serving a 30-year sentence in a prison in the Arctic, accuses the Kremlin (Russian presidency) of preparing electoral fraud through electronic voting, to which a third of registered voters will have access during the three days of voting, scheduled between March 15 and 17.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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