Despite Navalny’s absence, Russian elections test his strategy

NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia — On the outskirts of Russia’s third-largest city, 19-year-old Anna Lapty is doing her best to convince an elderly man to accept a flyer for the opposition candidate in his district.

Annoyed, he shoos the petite blonde away with an expletive. “Don’t you get that it’s all been long decided?” he grumbles.

After more than 20 years of Vladimir Putin, the idea of effecting change through the ballot box is a tough idea to sell in Russia — even to the most vocal…

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