Elections in Russia: Opposition member suddenly has doppelgangers

Elections in Russia: Opposition member suddenly has doppelgangers

elections in russia
The opposition suddenly has doppelgangers

The two candidates change their names and their appearance – and now they are called like the famous Russian opposition activist Boris Vishnevsky. It speaks of “political fraud”. He accused his doppelgangers of confusing voters ahead of regional elections.

Voters in Russia’s second-largest city may be confused about an election in about two weeks: St. Petersburg has three Boris Vishnevskys to choose from for the regional parliament, all of whom look very similar. “This is political fraud,” said Vishnevsky, 65, a well-known opposition politician from the liberal Yablon party. He accused his names of confusing voters. “These people fight elections not to get elected or represent a program, but to mislead voters,” Wischniewski said. His opponents of the same name would have changed his name and his appearance for the election.

The 65-year-old said he hopes to face opponents of the same name. Their formation is a frequently used tactic against popular candidates in Russia. But when he recently saw an election poster with two candidates who looked almost identical, he was shocked. One of them is Viktor Bykov, a member of the increasingly unpopular ruling party United Russia. “Before he became ‘Boris Vishnevsky’, he looked different: he had no beard,” the opposition member said.

According to the newspaper “Novaya Gazeta”, for which Vishnevsky writes, the third person also changed his name shortly before the election. The newspaper reported that his real name is Alexei Shmelev. Neither the local representation of the two candidates in question nor the United Russia party responded to AFP’s investigation.

Parliamentary elections in Russia will be held from 17 to 19 September. Corruption scandals have caused, among other things, the governing party United Russia recently achieving an approval rating of only about 27 percent, according to the state-controlled opinion research institute WTSIOM. Almost all known representatives of the opposition are not allowed to vote. Alexei Navalny, the main critic of President Vladimir Putin, is in prison and his outfit has been banned.

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