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To Protest Electoral Corruption, Putin's Opponents Hold Their Own Parliamentary Elections Online

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, October 19 2012

Screenshot of candidates for the "shadow parliament" from their website.

To protest irregularities in the Russian elections, opponents of President Vladimir Putin are putting their time where their Internet is: They are, reports Reuters, "instead holding their own Internet contest to choose a "shadow parliament" they hope will reinvigorate the flagging opposition movement."

The 211 candidates standing include student activists, entrepreneurs, a former investment banker, bloggers, a socialite restaurateur, an author and politicians of every stripe.

Veteran opposition leaders such as former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov will compete with a host of lesser known contenders.

Nearly 160,000 people have registered for the weekend vote that will elect a 45-member Coordinating Council in what some backers call "primaries" for a "shadow parliament". Organisers hope the election will help counter accusations that the opposition protest movement is leaderless and adrift.

The opposition movement's slick website includes photos of serious-looking candidates and a campaign video made with professional looking production values. It was designed by leading Russian businessman Ilya Segalovich, who made his fortune via a homegrown search engine. Segalovich's involvement in the opposition movement is an indicator, Reuters notes, that Putin's support in the business community is not monolithic.

Voters can register for the elections to the "shadow parliament" by visiting this website and filling in a mobile phone number.

Russian speakers can follow tweets about the opposition movement's online campaign via the Twitter hashtag #ВыборыКС.

With thanks to Nina Kolunovsky for finding and translating the digital / social media content.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.