World News

Souring in Russia-US relations is year's major letdown

Souring in Russia-US relations is year's major letdown

Russian authorities will investigate whether opposition leader Alexei Navalny is breaking the law with his campaign for boycotting next year's presidential election, the Kremlin said Thursday.

Russian presidential election campaign officially began December 18, while the election itself will take place on March 18. In an ironic twist, the decision to prevent Navalny from running against Vladimir Putin may cause the loss of legitimacy the Kremlin has tried so hard to prevent.

"These actions indicate the Russian government has failed to protect space in Russia for the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms", the statement from the State Department read.

Despite State Department's criticism, President Donald Trump failed to call out Russian Federation on the undemocratic move.

"We expect the Russian authorities to ensure that there is a level playing field, including in the presidential elections", said European Union foreign affairs spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic.

The U.S. government urged Russian Federation to hold free and fair democratic elections and to respect human rights.

More news: Jimmy Garoppolo is the Future

The Russian foreign ministry said the US State Department's recent statement is tantamount to a "direct interference" in the electoral process.

Her statement was translated by The Moscow Times. Several days earlier, Clay Noel, a U.S. State Department foreign policy specialist, told the Russian news agency Tass that he was concerned over "restrictions on independent voices" in the Russian election by Russia's Central Election Commission.

A year ago, the Kremlin was looking forward to a new era in relations with Donald Trump preparing to enter the White House after calling for warming up a relationship that had fallen into the deep freeze under Barack Obama. Putin said. "We've already been through all that".

Navalny has appealed the election commission's decision to keep him off the presidential ballot.

In a recent blog post Navalny named more than 80 cities where the protest rallies are going to be held, including: Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Rostov-on-Don, Samara etc.

A furious Navalny, who says the sentence was part of a fabricated case created to thwart his political ambitions, responded by calling for an election boycott. "The procedure in which we are invited to participate is not an election".


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