Skip to main content

Sergei Sobyanin wins Moscow mayoral election

By Jill Dougherty, CNN
updated 6:14 AM EDT, Mon September 9, 2013
Alexei Navalny prepares to cast his ballot during a mayoral election in Moscow, on September 8, 2013, with his daughter, Dasha.
Alexei Navalny prepares to cast his ballot during a mayoral election in Moscow, on September 8, 2013, with his daughter, Dasha.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sergey Sobyanin wins election with more than 51% of vote
  • Blogger and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny scores 27%
  • Navalny has been convicted for embezzlement, but ran while out on bail
  • Despite Navalny's loss, some call it a breakthrough

Moscow (CNN) -- There wasn't a shadow of a doubt that former presidential aide and interim mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin would win the mayoral race against blogger and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, not as President Vladimir Putin's hand-picked man.

The only question was by how much. Anything less than 50% would have meant a run-off election.

Opinion: Putin, a hypocrite on Snowden, Navalny

There will not be a run-off. Sobyanin squeaked by with 51.37% of the vote. Navalny won 27.24%.

Russian opposition leader out of prison
Pavel Khodorkovsky on Navalny verdict

Calling the preliminary results "sheer falsifications" Navalny demanded the annulment of "off-site" elections, in which voters are allowed to vote at home, without having to come to polling stations. "We also demand a second round of voting for the election," he said.

Navalny can ask for a re-count but there is little chance he will get a run-off. Putin can rest assured that his man will retain the powerful post of Moscow mayor.

Read more: What's behind conviction of Navalny?

But the opposition are taking heart from Navalyny's strong showing.

As Ksenya Sobchak, once Russia's "Paris Hilton" and now a vocal member of the opposition tweeted: "Now, Alexey is a politician of federal standing, and prison is unthinkable."

Up to now, Navalyny was known mainly in Moscow and St. Petersburg as a crusader against government corruption, calling out politicians for illegal behavior. He was a leader of the 2012 street demonstrations in Moscow, motivating educated, middle-class young people in Russia's big cities with blogs and Tweets.

The Kremlin's game with Alexei Navalny

Kremlinologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya, in post-election Tweet, said "Navalny's high results in the election is directly connected to his activity in the social media."

In a striking political anomaly, the 37-year-old Navalny ran for mayor as a convicted man, currently on bail after being sentenced to five years in prison for embezzlement. He claims the charges were politically inspired to sideline him from politics and is appealing the sentence.

Before the mayoral vote some observers predicted that, if Navalny's supporters felt the election had been stolen, they would turn out again for street protests. A demonstration was planned in advance for Monday evening.

But some Kremlin opponents don't sound that angry; they're taking heart from the vote totals.

In another Tweet Ksenya Sobchak said "It was understood right from the beginning that they would do absolutely everything to avoid a second round, isn't that true? But the fact that Navalyny got more than 27% -- that's cool!"

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT