World

Russia: Putin's ally Sergei Sobyanin re-elected Moscow mayor

Russia: Putin's ally Sergei Sobyanin re-elected Moscow mayor

He was referring to a planned demonstration to protest a bill that would raise the retirement age in the country, organized by Navalny and scheduled for Sunday, coinciding with nationwide balloting that includes by-elections to the State Duma (lower house of Parliament), as well as several gubernatorial and mayoral races in cities such as Moscow.

He had planned to lead a protest in Moscow on Sunday, but a court last month convicted him of breaking protest laws and jailed him for 30 days. Almost 300 people were reported arrested.

Earlier in Germany during large-scale protests detained 300 people.

Police on September 9 detained 839 people at the election-day protests, which were held in dozens of cities and towns across Russian Federation, according to OVD-Info.

The website for Russia's interior ministry didn't confirm the number of detentions, but a senior ministry official said around 100 people were detained in St. Petersburg and "a few people" were held in Moscow for violating the law, Russian news agency Interfax reported. A total of 452 people were detained there, while in Moscow, 43 people were held after authorities had denied an application to hold a rally, the group said.

Polls say President Vladimir Putin's former chief of staff Sergei Sobyanin - whom Navalny ran against in 2013 - will easily be re-elected as Moscow's mayor with 74 percent of the vote, according to TASS. Riot police observing from the sidelines charged the marchers with raised batons when some tried to rush through the barriers. Photos and video footage from St. Petersburg show the police violently beating protesters.

Russian political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin told the Kyiv Post that the results were due to Putin's pension reform plan and worsening economic conditions amid Western sanctions. The ruling party also lost seats in some regional parliaments to members of the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russian Federation, the news agencies reported, citing election officials. "I want to say this to older people: The young have to take the hit for us and come out because we don't". A lawyer for Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund was arrested in Moscow before the rally there.

The government unveiled the deeply unpopular plan in June, announcing that from next year, the retirement age for men will rise from 60 to 65 and from 55 to 63 for women. The current life-expectancy for Russian men is 66.

This time he will face only low-profile candidates from the Communist Party, the nationalist LDPR and two other groups, with more vocal opponents barred under new rules.


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