Russia’s disparate anti-Putin opposition movement are hoping to show a more united front this weekend by holding an internet ballot to choose a shadow parliament.
More than 200 candidates are standing for the 45-seat Coordinating Council in an election that has grabbed the attention of private TV channels and websites.
Opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny said: “The opposition movement is discredited and unpopular among the people. The opposition isn’t supported. And why? We decided to have an election to understand: Who are these people? What is their ideology? What kind of activity do they support? It’s a normal competition.”
Nearly 160,000 people have registered to vote in a country of more than 140-million.
The opposition movement has often been described as leaderless and hamstrung by a lack of unity. But last year and this saw the biggest demonstrations against Putin’s 12 years in power.
The president dismissed the movement as “chattering monkeys.”