Gelman: The poisoning sends a warning signal to local supporters

PONARS Eurasia
23 Aug 2020

(Bloomberg) We will probably never know for certain who ordered tainted tea for the Kremlin’s most vocal critic. Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption campaigning has made him a long list of enemies, and a dark undercurrent of violence is never far from the surface in Russian politics. The timing of the assault, though, suggests worrying disquiet among those in charge. [...]

More significantly, though, he is perceived as an unquantifiable risk. His tactical voting campaign, which aims to unite voters around candidates not affiliated with the ruling United Russia party, has had a significant impact in previous local and regional elections. The poisoning sends a warning signal to local supporters hoping to repeat that trick, says Vladimir Gelman, a political science professor at the European University at St. Petersburg who studies Russia’s opposition. [...]

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