Though his anti-Putin campaign in the Moscow mayoral race garnered worldwide attention, 2010 Yale World Fellow Alexei Navalny did not receive enough support in Sunday’s election to keep vying for the position.
Election officials announced that while Navalny received 27 percent of the city’s votes — far more than his supporters expected — the incumbent mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, won 51 percent of the votes, with a margin wide enough to eliminate the possibility of a runoff election between Navalny and Sobyanin.
Navalny has since demanded a recount, and his supporters have decried the long, overnight process of counting votes they say left plenty of room for tampering with the results.
“We don’t recognize these results and we demand a second round, which the people of Moscow voted for. If the mayor and the Kremlin ignore the demands of the people we will call everyone on to the streets tomorrow,” Navalny tweeted Monday.
But Russian political pundits said despite his defeat, Navalny’s performance in the polls signifies a political shift for the Kremlin-run country.
Navalny made worldwide headlines in July when he was briefly jailed after a five-year sentencing for embezzlement charges left the future of his mayoral campaign uncertain. Anti-Kremlin supporters rallied around his subsequent release, which cleared the way for Navalny to oppose Sobyanin in this week’s election.