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CORRESPONDENT

Kara-Murza Denounced Early Voting Under Putin Before 2022 Arrest

John Gizzi By Thursday, 11 April 2024 08:02 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

With the death of Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison on Feb. 16, the imprisoned Russian dissident upon whom the world's eyes are now focused is Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr.

Two years ago, on April 11, 2022, Kara-Murza, onetime top aide to Boris Nemtsov (who died in a mysterious shooting in 2015 and was another high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin), was himself arrested and imprisoned when he returned to Russia to step up his denunciations of the Putin regime.

Last year, he was convicted of treason for his denunciation of the Russian-waged war in Ukraine. Now serving a 25-year sentence, Kara-Murza languishes behind bars in a Siberian prison. After surviving two near-fatal poisonings — both of which he blames on the Putin government — Kara-Murza is reportedly in uncertain health.

In July 2020, as Russia voters prepared to resoundingly enact constitutional changes that would permit Putin to remain in office until 2036, Kara-Murza spoke to Newsmax about what he called a "sham referendum."

Sounding somewhat like election skeptics in the U.S., he was particularly critical of the early voting and lax supervision of the ballots.

"There was one weeklong early voting in this plebiscite," Kara-Murza told us. "Every night, those ballots were stored at the offices of electoral commissions with no independent oversight. They could be replaced at any time. Early voting has been known for a very long time as an easy way to replace ballots. Now they've had it for a whole week."

He added, "There was no independent video surveillance. There was this new experiment with more than a million people participating in the electronic voting. There's no paper trail, no way to preserve the secrecy of the ballot."

Kara-Murza quoted Joseph Stalin, who once famously said: "It's not important how they vote. It's important how we count."

Denouncing Putin as an "illegitimate president" who has remained in power by repeatedly changing the constitution, the dissident drew his fire on Western politicians who have turned a blind eye to Putin.

"We have seen Western political leaders, including U.S. presidents of both parties, basically turn away," he said. "They looked away when he shut down independent TV channels. They looked way when he rigged elections. They looked away when he dismissed opposition rallies.

"One day, they came to the first territorial state annexation since the Second World War, which is what Putin did in Crimea [in 2014]," he continued. "Those things are connected, interrelated."

At the time, Kara-Murza predicted to us that Putin would finally be brought down by revolution rather than the elections the Kremlin oversees.

"When there is a critical mass of society that is fed up with the corruption and the nepotism that the dictatorship represents," he predicted, "and that critical mass goes out into the streets, these regimes will collapse in matter of days.

"When political changes come to Russia, they will not come through the ballot boxes but through the streets," he continued. "These changes will not happen next week, next month, or next year; but they will certainly happen before 2036."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


John-Gizzi
With the death of Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison on Feb. 16, the imprisoned Russian dissident upon whom the world's eyes are now focused is Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr.
alexei navalny, death, vladimir kara-murza, prison, vladimir putin, early voting, russia
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2024-02-11
Thursday, 11 April 2024 08:02 PM
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