More than a dozen candidates and activists declare a hunger strike against Russia's ruling political party
More than a dozen people have declared a hunger strike in the town of Volno-Nadezhdinskoye, where local candidates from the Communist Party, LDPR, and Just Russia, as well as a few independents, saying that United Russia has been bribing voters ahead of the September 9 regional elections. Twenty candidates are competing for seats on Nadezhdinsky’s district council.
A public statement from the group says the protest currently has 18 participants, including both candidates and “concerned citizens.” The hunger strikers have reportedly appealed to Russia’s Central Election Commission and the Attorney General’s Office.
Is this the start of Russian Revolution 2.0?
Hunger strikes are one of the most common forms of civil disobedience in Russia. Political prisoners often declare them almost as soon as they’re behind bars (leftist activist Sergey Udaltsov was recently hospitalized because of his hunger strike, the same goes for Alexander Shestun, the jailed head of the Moscow region's Serpukhovsky district, and Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has subsisted on only doctor-prescribed chemical cocktails since mid-Mid). Construction workers at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome have repeatedly stopped eating in protest against wage arrears, and so on.
Not unprecedented but no doubt worrying to Russia’s powers that be, United Russia’s political dominance seems to be wavering after forcing through draft legislation that will raise the country’s retirement age. It’s even trying some nifty PR tricks in particularly troubled spots (though Volno-Nadezhdinskoye isn’t on the list). Read about that here.