Russia’s opposition flounders as Putin changes constitution

first_img ‘A circus with balloons’ Navalny, a 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner who has organized the biggest anti-Kremlin demonstrations in recent years, has slammed the reforms as a “constitutional coup” but has done little to forcefully oppose them.He has said debate about whether to participate in the plebiscite is pointless because lawmakers have already backed the amendments and the vote will be a fraud.”What we are left with is a circus with balloons,” he wrote on Telegram.While many opposition supporters have been frustrated by its inability to offer a more decisive plan of action, some said change will come sooner or later.Mikhail Samin, a 20-year-old programmer who took part in anti-government protests in Moscow last summer, pointed to Putin’s approval ratings, which fell to a historic low of 59 percent in April, according to a poll by the Levada Centre. “The opposition is moving in the right direction,” Samin said. “Society is moving in the right direction.”Navalny has said that, instead of focusing on Putin’s constitutional changes, Russians should prepare for regional elections in September and parliamentary polls due in 2021.Last year pro-Kremlin candidates suffered losses in Moscow city polls after Navalny called for tactical voting to oppose Putin loyalists.Analyst Stanovaya said it was time for Navalny to save his strength for another battle.”Now is not his time.” Russia’s opposition is denouncing this week’s vote on President Vladimir Putin’s constitutional reforms as a joke, pointing out that copies of the amended basic law are already on sale in Moscow bookshops.From liberal reformers to Communists, Kremlin critics say the vote — which started last week and ends on Wednesday — is a thinly veiled attempt to keep Putin, 67, in power for life.But other than tepid calls to boycott or vote “No”, the opposition has done little to actively fight the changes. Russia’s top opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who last summer rallied thousands against suspected voter fraud in Moscow, has also shown little interest in combating the reforms.Experts say deep divisions and shrewd moves by the Kremlin are keeping opponents from mounting any serious opposition to Putin’s plans.”A lack of resources, a lack of new faces, a lack of excitement, inspiration and faith — that’s what I think are the main reason for the problems,” said Vitali Shkliarov, a Harvard University fellow and political adviser who has worked with the Russian opposition.”There have been a million opportunities to prove yourself” since Putin announced the reforms, he said. But after years of repression, Kremlin critics feel dispirited. ‘Opposition in a bind’The amendments have already been approved by parliament but Putin called the public vote in an effort to boost their legitimacy.Initially planned for April 22, the ballot was postponed by the coronavirus epidemic and analysts say its quick scheduling and then rescheduling is part of the reason the opposition has been unable to mount a strong campaign.Tatyana Stanovaya, founder of analysis firm R. Politik, said the Kremlin also pulled the rug from under its opponents when it gave Russians the choice to vote only “yes” or “no” on the entire package of changes, instead of individual amendments.Opposing popular measures such as better pensions and minimum wages could leave Kremlin opponents vulnerable, she said.”In such a situation it’s hard to argue against the amendments,” she told AFP. “The opposition is in a bind.”Liberal party Yabloko has urged Russians to stay away from the “illegal, anti-constitutional and fake vote”.The Communist Party is calling on its supporters to vote “No”, an unusual move for a party that often toes the Kremlin line.center_img “The Russian opposition does not believe in itself.”Putin proposed amending the constitution in January and later approved a last-minute addition that would reset presidential term limits to zero, potentially allowing him to serve two more six-year terms after his mandate expires in 2024.They also include political changes like strengthening the role of parliament and a series of populist measures such as a requirement to adjust state pensions for inflation and an effective ban on gay marriage.Opinion polls show a majority of Russians support the social amendments but there is less enthusiasm for the political reforms. Topics :last_img read more

Arsenal draw to go top, United win at Liverpool

first_imgArsenal ended Leicester City’s brief stay at the top of the Premier League on Sunday despite being held to a 0-0 draw at Stoke City after Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney struck late for a 1-0 win at Liverpool.Arsenal moved ahead of Leicester City, who drew 1-1 at Aston Villa to take first place on Saturday. Both teams have 44 points from 22 matches but the London side’s goal difference is three better than the Foxes.Manchester United also moved up the table from sixth to fifth after Rooney’s 78th minute volley gave them victory at arch-rivals Liverpool in a drab north-west derby which improved slightly after the break following a poor first half.Rooney struck after a header by Marouane Fellaini rebounded straight to him off the bar and the United skipper gave keeper Simon Mignolet no chance with his ferocious strike.Arsenal, who have not won at Stoke for six years, came close to scoring three times but were thwarted by Jack Butland who made important saves from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud, twice. Arsenal keeper Petr Cech, the Man of the Match, was far busier in the second half, denying Marko Arnautovic twice, Bojan Krcic and Joselu as Stoke poured forward looking for a third successive home league win over the Gunners.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Trump to Visit The Villages Orlando Today

first_imgPresident Trump is in The Villages in Orlando this afternoon for an official White House event focused on health care.Trump’s supporters in the over 55 community are behind him all the way.David Gee is the founder of Villagers for Trump and says they are praying for him.  Today, the President will appear at an invitation-only event about health care and Medicare.White House sources tell Spectrum News the president will sign an executive order expanding provisions of the Medicare Advantage program.President Trump’s first trip to The VillagesWill sign an executive order to expand Medicare AdvantageSharon Morse Performing Arts Center Thursday, 1 p.m.5 Things To Know: President Trump In Villages Thursday Herelast_img

Wildcats show signs of improvement, move into top 10 of Single-A provincial poll

first_imgThe Mount Sentinel Wildcats moved up the confidence ladder to place in the gold tier at the 48-team Best of the West High School Girl’s Volleyball Tournament Saturday in Kelowna.”It was a good weekend overall for us,” said Mount Sentinel head coach Joe Moreira. “(We) took some baby steps forward.”The Wildcats lost all three games in the round of 16 gold tier, but Moreira was more than pleased with the improvement of his young team.”We competed against teams that are better than us,” Moreira explained. “We lost to McMath (of Richmond #3 – AAAA), Trinity from Edmonton, and St. Thomas Moore (of Vancouver #8-AA). We had only one (poor game) . . . the first set versus STM. The rest we played with only a minimum of fear.”The Wildcats opened the tournament Friday reeling off three impressive wins, including an upset of sixth-ranked White Rock Christian. The Warriors are ranked four spots ahead of Mount Sentinel in the more recent High School Single-A Girl’s poll.”We played well and with confidence,” said Moreira of his team of Grade 9s and 11s.After three weeks of tournaments the Cats get a breather before heading to the South Okanagan to play in the Pen Hi Lakers tournament Oct. 28-29.The Kootenay High School Single-A volleyball playoffs is set for mid-November. The B.C. High School Single-A Volleyball Championships are December 1-4 in Abbotsford.sports@thenelsondaily.comlast_img read more

Hawks surprise Rebels in Game one of Murdoch Final

first_imgDarren Medeiros scored the other goal for Castlegar.Beaver Valley out shot the Rebels 25-19 making a winner out of Perehudoff.Netminder Jarrod Schamerhorn, injured in Game five of the Murdoch semi final against Nelson, was back on the bench as the back-up goalie for Beaver Valley.Edwards, leading the KIJHL in playoffs scoring with 15 points, has 12 points in his last four games.The series shifts to Fruitvale for Games three and four Thursday and Friday.Knights need extra time to take lead on EaglesIn Armstrong, Marty Saharchuk scored in overtime to lift the North Okanagan Knights to a 6-5 win over Sicamous Eagles in Game one of the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference Semi Final.The Knights lead the series 1-0 with Game two set for Tuesday in Armstrong. Ryan Edwards continued his hot scoring streak, scoring a power play goal midway through the third period to spark the Beaver Valley Nitehawks to a 3-2 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoff victory over the Rebels Monday night in Castlegar.The Hawks, winners of four straight, lead the best-of-seven Murdoch Final 1-0.Game two is Tuesday in the Sunflower City.Castlegar, entering the game the hottest team in the KIJHL with 10 wins in 11 games, opened the scoring on Beaver Valley netminder Zach Perehudoff less than two minutes into the game when Diego Bartlett combined with Brenden Heinrich and Bryan Lubin.The goal, however, never fazed the Hawks which outshot the Rebels 10-7 in the period and tied the game on a marker from Michael Bell.Beaver Vallley rookie Riley Brandt scored his first playoff marker with seconds remaining in the middle frame before Edwards notched the winner in the third giving the Hawks a 3-1 lead.last_img read more

LVR Jr. Bombers suffer back-to-back losses in overtime

first_imgQuin Hall, Keegan Jade and Curtis Young each had four points.In the mini-tourney opener, the Wildcats outscored the Bombers 11-0 in the extra period to win the contest.It was the third straight win for Mount Sentinel over LVR this season.The Wildcats opened the game on fire, building a 16-2 lead after one quarter.Mount Sentinel maintained the margin into the second half before the Bombers caught fire, outscoring the Cats 26-13 to send the game into overtime.Hall and Young led the Bombers in scoring, netting nine and eight points, respectively.Dyllen Dixon added six points while Brock Dixon had four.LVR now prepares for the West Kootenay Junior Boy’s Basketball The Bombers enter the tournament as the four seed and meets J. Lloyd Crowe Junior Hawks in the first game of the tournament.Mount Sentinel, the top seed, gains a bye into the second round.Other games have second seed Stanley Humphries meeting Salmo Falcons and third seed Grand Forks playing Boundary Central of Midway.The tournament concludes Saturday. The L.V. Rogers Junior Bombers suffered a couple of heartbreaking defeats during a West Kootenay High School Boy’s Basketball Mini-tournament Saturday at the Hangar.The Junior Bombers saw the Grand Forks Wolves score five points in the final minute to escape with a 41-39 overtime victory in game three of the mini-tournament.Earlier, LVR lost 50-37 to Mount Sentinel Wildcats — the game also went into overtime.In other game of the mini-affair, Grand Forks Wolves outlasted a tired Mount Sentinel Wildcats squad 53-42.Against the Wolves, who the Bombers had defeated earlier this year, LVR led 39-36 in the final minute of the game after sending the game into extra time with a basket at the buzzer.However, poor execution on offence coupled with two turnovers cost the Bombers the win.The Dixon brothers — Brock and Dyllen — led LVR with 13 and 10 points, respectively.last_img read more

Mount Sentinel edges Wolves to capture WK Junior Boy’s Basketball crown

first_imgIn the contest Mount Sentinel went to the free throw line 21 times to LVR’s six and the Bombers were called for 19 fouls to the Cats nine.Abrosimoff was the top scorer for Mount Sentinel with 15 points while Sookeroff had seven and Miller five.For the Bombers Brock Dixon had eight points while Curtis Young and Dixon’s brother Dyllen each added six points.LVR, which lost to Stanley Humphries Rockers 52-24 in the consolation final to finish fourth in the tournament, advanced to the semi final round by stopping the J. Lloyd Crowe Hawks 40-20 Friday.The Bombers led 11-8 after one quarter and 20-11 at the half.In the third quarter, LVR out scored the Hawks 10-4 to put the game away.Dyllen Dixon led all scorers with 17 points, including three baskets from behind the arc.Jairo Mangapot and Young each added four points.In the consolation final, Aject Dhaliwal scored 11 points and Morgan Lynn added eight to spark the Rockers to the lopsided win over LVR.The Rockers, taking third place, built a 21-3 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.Dyllen Dixon scored eight points for LVR while power forward Jack Roberts had five points, including a three-pointer at the buzzer. Brandon Sookeroff scored 14 points to lead the Mount Sentinel Wildcats to the West Kootenay Junior Boy’s Basketball Championship with a 36-33 win over host Grand Forks Wolves Saturday in the Boundary City.The Wildcats, the top ranked team going into the seven-team tournament, needed a late rally to secure the win as Mount Sentinel trailed the Wolves for most of the contest.Aaron Abrosimoff added nine points and Kie Miller had eight.Mount Sentinel advanced to the final with a thrilling 31-29 victory over the L.V. Rogers Bombers.In the game, the Bombers had a chance to tie the game but LVR was called for a lane violation with less than three seconds remaining in the game.Mount Sentinel, entering the contest with three straight regular season wins over LVR, led 8-6 after one quarter before LVR took a 14-12 advantage into recess.Mount Sentinel, trailed 29-27 late in the fourth period before reeling off four straight free throws to secure the lead and the win.last_img read more