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Navalny associates announce plans to release 'Smart Vote' recommendations for September elections

Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny's team of anti-corruption activists announced the launch of its “Smart Vote” initiative for this year’s Moscow municipal elections, which will take place from September 9–11. The team announced on Twitter that the recommendations will focus on municipal elections in Moscow.

“We believe that this is the election that will give us the greatest chance of doing damage to Putin and his party of warmongers. That’s why we’re calling for all Muscovites to come together to vote in protest,” reads the initiative's site.

The Navalny supporters plan to release their recommendations for which candidates to vote for just a few days before voting starts. According to their team, one of the key factors they will consider when choosing who to recommend this year will be candidates’ positions on the war in Ukraine.

The recommendations themselves will be available on the group’s mobile app, website, and Telegram bot.

Alexey Navalny and his team started the “Smart Vote” initiative in 2018. The service offers voting instructions in regional elections to maximize the odds of defeating the country’s ruling political party, United Russia.

Shortly before the 2021 State Duma elections, Roskomnadzor, Russia's federal censor, began blocking Smart Vote resources in Russia and demanded that Apple, Google, Cloudflare, and Cisco not allow people to circumvent the block. Apple and Google eventually complied, deleting the Navalny app from their app stores, while Telegram blocked the Smart Vote bot on its service.

This year, Russia’s “single voting day” will be held on September 11. The contests will include 14 gubernatorial elections, six regional parliament elections, and city council votes in 12 regional capitals.

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