Russian nationals in UK spoil election ballots in anti-Putin protest

Russian nationals living in the UK have taken to polling stations to spoil presidential election ballots in protest against Vladimir Putin extending his leadership.

Sunday is the final day of the Russian presidential election in which Mr Putin faces three candidates from parties who have not criticised his rule nor his invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian Democratic Society (RDS) – described as a community of Russian immigrants in the UK – organised a Noon Against Putin demonstration outside the Russian Embassy in London.

Flowers for Alexei Navalny
Flowers were left outside the Russian embassy in London on the day of the funeral of Vladimir Putin’s opponent Alexei Navalny (Lucy North/PA)

“Protesters can express their protest by voting against Putin or by spoiling the ballot by checking two candidates, thus rendering it invalid but not subject to falsification.”

The RDS also held a rally at the same venue to support free elections in Russia, with the Facebook event adding that the group “consider these elections illegitimate”.

It comes as the associates of Mr Putin’s opponent Alexei Navalny – who died in prison last month – urged people across Russia to protest by crowding near polling stations at noon on Sunday.

“It is important, because I see my people, I see my nation, I see how many people are actually against the regime, against Putin, because our propaganda really tries to show that no-one is actually against (him) … and I see how many people are actually here today and that’s very inspiring,” Ms Kallenberg told the broadcaster.

Dmitrii Moskovskii, also at the London protest, told Sky News that the death of Mr Navalny had triggered a backlash against Mr Putin’s regime.

He said: “Many, many people inside Russia and outside of it have been saying to me that after Navalny’s death, they’ve really realised that this regime is crossing the line, that this regime is no more legitimate and cannot, do not, have a right to exist anymore.”

The crowd outside the embassy chanted “Russia without Putin, Putin is a killer”.

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