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Oslo
Friday, April 19, 2024

Russians in Norway protested election

Hundreds of Russians living in Norway showed up in force at the Russian Embassy in Oslo at noon on Sunday to protest what they considered a rigged election, and cast votes against Russian President Vladimir Putin. They were following the advice of Putin’s only real opponent, Alexei Navalny, whose death in custody last month is being widely blamed on Putin himself.

The line outside the Russian Embassy in Oslo wrapped around the corner, as hundreds of Russian voters turned up at noon to overwhelm local embassy staff and vote against Russian President Vladimir Putin. PHOTO: NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

“We’re here as part of the protest against Putin,” said one man leaving the embassy on Sunday afternoon. “We’re here to support Navalny.” The Norwegian government has already called in the Russian ambassador in Norway to express its views on Navalny’s death.

Navalny and his widow Julia had encouraged Russians to stand up against Putin and his war on Ukraine by turning out at precisely noon on Russia’s Election Day on March 17. In Norway, that meant standing in long lines outside the Russian Embassy in Oslo, which had little choice but to let angry Russian expats in and vote, as Norwegian police maintained control outside the embassy.

Just across the street from the embassy were the remains of earlier protests against the death in Russian custody of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Fresh flowers have replaced those that withered after Navalny’s death a month ago, for which the Norwegian government is among those holding Putin responsible. PHOTO: NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

Local police had confirmed earlier in the day that they’d be increasing their presence outside the Russian Embassy in Oslo for security reasons. There were several patrol cars and uniformed police in place both right outside the embassy and on the streets surrounding it.

The line of Russian expat voters extended around the corner of Russia’s large embassy compound in Oslo, with Norwegian police expanding their presence outside the embassy to keep the peace. PHOTO: NewsinEnglish.no/Morten Møst

As Russians lined up along the perimeter of the Russian Embassy’s large compound in Oslo’s fashionable Frogner district, a group of loud Ukrainian demonstrators with microphones expressed their disgust with Putin and Russia from across the street. “Stop killing Ukrainian children,” they chanted in English, while also opting for chants in their own languages that could have seemed directed at those in line but were instead addressing Russian embassy personnel.

Ukrainian demonstrators were also n place outside the Russian Embassy on Sunday, accusing Russia of, among other things, killing Ukrainian children. PHOTO: NewsinEnglish.no/Morten Møst

Farther north, in the Norwegian city that lies closest to Norway’s border to Russia, Russian residents of Kirkenes also lined up outside the Russian consulate to symbolically vote against Putin. “There is no choice here,” one Russian voter told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “Putin robbed his way to power in 2012 and since then there has been no free Russia.”

Others opted against exercising their right to vote, claiming the election was rigged. By the end of the day, Putin was claiming as much as 87 percent of the vote and had assured himself of remaining in power.

NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

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