Europeans are questioning: Why are Russians participating in the elections? If the elections are fake and no one doubts it, just as no one doubts Putin's "victory", then why do Russians outside Russia actively participate in legitimizing Putin as president?

Yulia Navalnaya, a major figure of Russian opposition. She is the widow of Alexei Navalny, oppositional leader who recently died in prison. After her husband's death, Navalnaya announced that she would continue his work.

Within the Russian liberal opposition, there is no division regarding participation in the 2024 elections. No one suggests a boycott strategy. There is only a debate about choosing a candidate other than Putin. Most opposition figures urge voters to support any random candidate or invalidate their ballot. Either of these methods will reduce the percentage of votes garnered by Putin.

This opinion was voiced in one way or another by:

But why vote if the results will be falsified anyway? There are two reasons.

1st reason - make mass falsifications more obvious

The presence of votes for other candidates, invalidated ballots, and ballots with Navalny's name written in forces members of the electoral commissions to engage in mass falsifications. Observers monitor polling stations, attempting to ensure the fairness of the elections and vote counting. After falsifications, which will be documented by observers and shared on social media and independent media, there will be substantial photo and video evidence of the falsifications themselves.

Like past elections, most citizens will view the current elections as a crime against the will of the people. The strategy of not voting will lead to only Putin supporters voting. However, the strategy for voting for any other candidate or invalidating the ballot (equivalent to voting against all) will document mass falsifications and consequently, the election results will not be recognized. Media coverage of these violations is necessary as it reflects the behavior of Russians at polling stations.

2nd reason - place to express protest

Physical presence at polling stations continues the series of mass events that Russians have used to express protest. Mass queues of opposition supporters were observed during:

At March 17, 12:00, there should be another event like this. Opposition (including Yulia Navalnaya) choose the last day of voting to demonstrate unity among people and disagreement with falsifications, Putin's policies, and the war. Thus, the opposition has declared a mass event that does not require coordination but will show resistance from Russians.

Abroad, many Russians also symbolically join the "Noon Against Putin" action to express support for Russians inside the country. In Russia, the police have already warned that mass gatherings of people at 12:00 on March 17 will be considered extremist activity. Queues at Russian embassies are flashmobs of support and sympathy for those participating in actions within Russia. Falsifications at embassies also do not raise doubts. However, the desire of many to write Navalny's name on the ballot and curse the Russian leadership is a continuation of spontaneous actions following Navalny's death, exactly one month ago, on February 16, 2024. Russian embassies are not places for mourning and sympathy; for departing Russians, they are places to express anger and disagreement.

What I saw in Czech republic

Near the Russian embassy in the Czech Republic, there are still two memorials dedicated to Navalny with photos, flowers, and posters. The stand "Welcome to Russia" is splattered with red paint. People who participated in spontaneous actions in memory of Alexei Navalny on March 15 stand in a long queue at the Russian embassy to spoil the ballot or vote for someone other than Putin. Some wear Ukrainian or Russian opposition symbols, while others hold posters dedicated to Navalny. This is not support for Putin or his legitimization; it is a continuation of mass actions in memory of Navalny, who's The Anti-Corruption Foundation, led by Yulia Navalnaya, calls for protest voting.

On March 17 at 12:00 in Prague, an opposition rally "Noon Against Putin" took place in the city center. People who attended supported the resistance in Russia and showed to Czechs that Russians against Putin and the war in Ukraine exist.

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Russia started the war against Ukraine. This war is happening from 2014. It has only intensified on February 24th 2022. Milions of Ukrainians are suffering. The perpetrators of this must be brought to justice for their crimes.

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