The former spouse had to spend time with his wife and two children at his home in the north of Moscow for the comfort of his home.
Typically, he would have used the months of July and August to sweep the field, shake hands and flirt with voters as any politician would do within a few weeks of an important election.
I was a potential winner and I had a lot of support for my ride.
Instead of going to meet him in person in Moscow this week, we just reached him in Kiev, Ukraine, and stopped him from forced deportation.
I pull myself together, Dmitry Gutkov explains, I think about the rest.
He left the Russian capital in devastation in early June, after being arrested and released on a warning 48 hours later.
I was given to understand that I have a choice: leave Russia or go to jail, not only me, but my family too, He exposes.
Therefore, he stopped all his activities overnight.
If he returns to Moscow, he will be charged with fraud over unpaid rent and sentenced to five years in prison. For him, it was a fabricated test to keep him off the ballot.
Before he was arrested, authorities searched his apartment, his brother’s apartment and his parents’ apartment.
His father, Gennady Gudkov, is a well-known politician in Russia who left Vladimir Putin’s ship in 2007 and joined the opposition.
They also understood that if I did not leave, they would all be targeted by the investigation., Says Dmitry Gutkov. Like him, the political environment has become unbearable for those with a real probability of being elected under a banner other than the United Russia party, Vladimir Putin.
A dictatorship in the preparation of Russia, and a real campaign that is underway right now to oust all Kremlin opponents and critics and ensure a majority in parliament.
Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won 334 of the 450 seats in the Russian parliament, Duma, in the 2016 parliamentary elections.
Since then, the reputation of the Russian president has certainly waned. In the nine weeks leading up to the Assembly elections, pressure is mounting on potential candidates who are not members of tolerant opposition parties such as the Communist Party.
Moreover, Dmitry Koudkov is far from being the only person targeted by unprecedented efforts.
Just days before Gudkov left Russia, another prominent protester was arrested on his way from St. Petersburg to Poland.
Andrei Pivovrov, a former director of the Open Russia party, was torn from his seat by police and later handcuffed. He was officially charged with publishing material in 2020 on behalf of an undesirable organization.
From his makeshift cell where journalists could see and hear him, Pivovarov denounced
A maneuver to control [son] Political action. He also consulted about running in the assembly elections and supporting opposition candidates.
Again this week, authorities arrested critics, including an investigative journalist and the former director of broadcasting for Russia’s YouTube channel Navalny Live.
How far can the Kremlin go to suppress civil society without punishment?
This is the question we as Russians invariably ask, Says Andrei Kolsnikov, researcher at the Carnegie Center for Political Studies in Moscow.
The most honest answer is that no one knows the limits, and nothing.
Among the new laws that have been arrested to screen potential candidates, there is no legal place to oppose. Dmitry Gutkov argues that it is impossible to challenge the rule of Vladimir Putin.
When we spoke to him, he was still in Kiev, but his family was waiting to join his father in Bulgaria, from where he hopes to pursue some political action on behalf of the opposition from a distance.
But, to be realistic, we can say that the September election is unlikely to have quality candidates., He adds.
Since Alexei Navalny is in prison, most of his associates are under investigation or under house arrest, Gudkov says, adding that those who put it down may reject their candidacy by fall.
A glass made of bullets does not turn violet crutina
Violeta Grudina says this is the most political repression Russia has ever seen, and we have joined in the town of Mormonsk, near the Barents Sea in northwestern Russia.
In the not-so-distant past, Ms. Crudina was the coordinator of Alexei Navalny’s local office. Like Navalny’s other satellite offices, he has closed its doors to avoid criminal charges because authorities recently named Alexei Navalny’s entire network a terrorist group.
A law passed in parliament now stipulates that no one affiliated with or affiliated with it can obtain an order in the September legislative elections.
But neither this law nor the risk of ending in prison frightens Violeta Grutina, who has decided to run as an independent candidate to defeat the United Russia candidate at the municipal level.
True to his beliefs, he openly campaigns against corruption in the local political class. We have to break its monopoly in the region, begs the young woman.
Except that she pays the price. Violeta Crutina explains in a resigned tone that harassment, postal threats and arrests have become routine.
She did not resign to leave, but rather endured day-to-day threatening actions.
When she arrived at her office in late May, Violeta Crutina noticed that one of the windows was shattered by bullets. He said this was a clear warning from Salvo officials.
This is a warning and it is serious, but I am not afraid. On the contrary, they are the ones who scare me.
When she called the police to file a complaint, she was the one who was taken away and taken to the neighboring station for questioning.
Bullying is no longer just carnage.
Recently leaflets were distributed in mailboxes throughout his neighborhood in Mormonsk, warning that Wiremetta Crutina was a pedophile to be wary of.
If they try to chase her, it will not work, he says.
The rhetoric of Vladimir Putin’s government has only one goal: to eliminate all competition.
Nearly 10 million Russians were denied the right to run for office
Study by the Colossus Movement (New window) Protecting the Voter Rights in Russia It is estimated that at least nine million Russians will be denied the right to vote in elections due to stricter laws, at least 50 of which have been accepted since 2020.
These laws actually exclude anyone with a dual nationality and anyone facing unproven charges.
The real purpose of these amendments is not to protect the sovereignty of the people as a source of power, but to screen candidates who are unacceptable to the current government.
Violeta Grudina says she has no illusions about the real chances of being accepted as a candidate and that she manages all the signatures the law needs to get through this important stage.
It is a complete monarchy, it is a regime, it is a dictatorship, there is no other word to describe what is happening in our country.
When asked if he is afraid that he will end up in prison, he responds with a smile that he is ready to take in the name of freedom that this is a possibility and a danger.
They cannot steal it from me, freedom is within me.
Dmitry Gutkov left Russia, but did not feel free yet. He abandoned the September elections out of fear for the safety of those closest to him.
Of course, I want to come back to Russia, I can not say that I will give up my struggle against the Kremlin, but I will now retreat.
Dmitry Koudkov defines himself as the ambassador of a new Russia. He feels more efficient and safer than anywhere else in his home country. It is in this context that the Russians will be called to the polls in September, after the holidays. Without any suspense, the game is almost over.
The problem is real. The Russians understand that even with a tool like elections they can no longer influence anything. They will not believe it anymore, Concludes political analyst Andrei Kolsnikov.
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