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Polls close in Russia’s three-day election

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Russians voted on Sunday at the end of a three-day parliamentary election widely expected to favour the pro-Putin United Russia, following a crackdown on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s movement

Polls closed in Russia’s Far East city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on Sunday (September 19) – marking the end of a three-day parliamentary election expected to favour the ruling United Russia.

That’s after a sweeping crackdown that crushed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s movement and barred opponents from running.

A victory for the pro-Vladimir Putin party will likely be used by the Kremlin as proof of support for the president.

That’s despite malaise over years of faltering living standards.

State pollsters say United Russia faces a ratings slump – but it remains more popular than its closest rivals on this ballot, the Communist Party and nationalist LDPR.

Among those voting on Sunday was fashionista and TV personality Sergei Zverev.

He’s standing for the Russian Ecological Party – but says he does not believe he can be elected.

“I’m telling you – nobody will elect me, they won’t let it happen. They won’t let them elect me. I’m exhausted by courts already. They will elect the others, not me.”

Navalny is serving a jail sentence for parole violations that he denies.

His allies have been barred from running after his movement was banned in June as extremist.

The Kremlin denies a politically-driven crackdown and says individuals are prosecuted for breaking the law.

Navalny’s allies also encouraged tactical voting – amounting to supporting the candidate most likely to defeat the ruling party in any given electoral district.

United Russia holds nearly three-quarters of the outgoing State Duma’s 450 seats.

Last year that dominance helped it pass reforms allowing Putin to run for two more terms as president after 2024

Reuters.

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Russia will formally annex Ukraine regions Friday

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Russia will formally annex four more areas of Ukraine on Friday, after self-styled referendums in those regions yielded overwhelming support for the move.

The Russian-backed officials who organized the votes said that nearly all of those who cast ballots supported the annexation. The referendums were held in Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to make a major speech at the Kremlin following the signing ceremony. Ukraine and the West have condemned the referendums as a sham, but Russia has long claimed that the people of those regions want to be part of the Russian Federation.

The annexations are likely to further escalate the tensions between Russia and the West, which have been at loggerheads over Ukraine since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Friday’s move is sure to be met with condemnation from the international community.

Russia has long claimed that the people of those regions want to be part of the Russian Federation. The annexations are likely to further escalate the tensions between Russia and the West, which have been at loggerheads over Ukraine since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Friday’s move is sure to be met with condemnation from the international community.

 

“These are the guys?” Putin’s Dad’s army – READ HERE

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping makes his return to the public eye

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping has made his public appearance since returning to China

The President recently left his country for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

He quashed rumours of a coup, which sent shockwaves through social media ahead of an important Communist Party meeting.

On Tuesday, he visited an exhibition showing of China’s achievements during his time in power.

Of course, this comes as tensions continue to simmer in the Taiwan Straits.

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IRAN PROTESTS | Are countries using religion as an excuse to violate basic human rights?

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Iran protests are engulfing the country as thousands take to the streets in a revolution against oppression

IRAN PROTESTS – The story of Iran is one of a country that has been through a lot in recent history.

An uprising of both men and women has engulfed Iran, following the death of Mahsa Amini. Women are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, demanding some form of change to the strict rules that impact their ultimate freedom.

From the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the nation’s residents have witnessed their fair share of turmoil.

Many insist that religion, like Islam, is being used as a reason to violate basic human rights in Iran.

“It’s a totalitarian regime… Islam is being used to deny freedom of speech, freedom of education, freedom of movement.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

There is a feeling of discontent among the Iranian people. The economy is struggling, and many young Iranians feel they have no future.

They are fed up with the corruption of the government and the lack of opportunity.

Mahsa Amini’s brutal death

On top of this is the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman.

Amini was arrested by the so-called morality police for “improperly” wearing her mandatory hijab.

Reports suggest she was beaten so severely that she went into a coma.

Mahsa Amini protests in Iran

Three days later, she died, and many suspect it was a direct result of this police brutality.

Amini’s death has fuelled further anger and extreme protest, with widespread condemnation from Iranians, denouncing her death and the regime that caused it.

“There were 10-11 blows to her head… She was beaten while still in the van…When her body was delivered to the family they saw bruises to her neck and head.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

The incident has brought attention to the plight of many Iranians who feel they are living under an oppressive regime.

While it is difficult to predict what will happen next in Iran, many hope the death of Amani will not be in vain.

Many pray the protests will lead to real action and a country where women are treated as equals. They want a country where there is opportunity for all.

Women in Iran and around the world are now lifting the veil on Iran’s corruption and human rights violations.

In 2022, many are angry that men are controlling what women do with their bodies and what they wear.

However, the Founder and Director of Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute Mariam Memarsadeghi explained its women who are enforcing the strict rules too.

“It’s actually women also who are policing other women to wear hijab… It’s a very Handmaids Tale situation.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

Will this drive change?

In Iran, many young Iranians are showing the world they don’t want this system any more, that they want democracy.

They’re cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, they’re putting their own safety on the line to take a stand against the regime that has silenced them for so long.

This generation is very different, but it doesn’t guarantee that this uprising will fuel any real change.

However, Memarsadeghi said “there is no way back from here.”

“It’s very dangerous, there is a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women on the streets because each and every single one of them risks being beaten, killed, tortured, maybe even executed.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

How can organisations and world leaders help?

Iran is in the midst of a political upheaval and the world is watching.

Scenes of protest and violence are being shared far and wide on social media. The world has a front-row seat to the unfolding crisis.

However, the Iranian Government has responded by imposing a sweeping internet ban, cutting off the protesters from the outside world.

This only adds to the urgency of the situation, as Iran’s people are now risking their lives to speak out against their oppression.

World leaders and democracy advocacy groups are already discussing ways to help the people of Iran and hold their violations to account.

“The solidarity and attention from celebrities, athletes and world leaders has been extremely helpful… The future of freedom is what these men and women in Iran are doing.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

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