The contest to head Russia’s capital will help shape Putin’s six-year third term and the fortunes of two politicians who could play bigger roles in the future. For underdog Navalny, 37, an anti-corruption campaigner who emerged from a wave of street protests as the driving force of opposition to Putin’s 13-year rule, the vote is a chance to show many Russians want change and he is the man to make it happen. It pits him against Sergei Sobyanin, a former Putin administration chief who was appointed to a five-year term by the Kremlin in 2010 but called an early election to bolster his legitimacy and strengthen his position. Irina, a Muscovite in her 40s who works in manufacturing and on Sunday voted with her father, cast her ballot for Navalny in a sign of protest against the Kremlin. “We’ve both voted for Navalny, we like some things about him but first and foremost we really don’t like the authorities,” she said. Worker Yevgeni chose Sobyanin. “There is no need for any change, everything is fine here. He’s got serious experience now, he’s well into this job. I like the way he works and want to see more of the same,” he said, adding his main demand was for more jobs. But even among those who voted for Navalny, there was little hope he could win and a threat of jail hangs over him. OPPOSITION CANDIDATE FACES JAIL He was convicted in July of stealing timber for a state firm and sentenced to five years in prison after a trial he and his supporters say was politically motivated.
Russia, the Olympic bronze medalist last year and bronze medalist at the Europeans two years ago, now looks unlikely to make the second round after three straight defeats. Sweden is 1-2. Also Saturday, defending champion Spain limited the Czech Republic to two points in the final quarter in Celje and ran away with a 60-39 victory despite its own poor shooting. Jonas Jerebko added 22 points and 13 rebounds for Sweden in the Group D game in Koper. Sweden pulled away in the final quarter after leading for most of the game. Aleksey Shved had 15 points for Russia and Semen Antonov added 13. Spain missed its last seven 3-point attempts and was marginally more effective than the Czechs in the fourth. The Czechs shot 24 percent from the field and Spain 32 percent. The Czechs pulled within five late in the third quarter but Spain then raised its defense. Rudy Fernandez had 14 points and Ricky Rubio added 10 for Spain. Marc Gasol scored his only basket halfway into the third quarter but pulled down 10 rebounds. Spain is 2-1 in Group C. Jan Vesely had seven points and 14 rebounds and Lubos Barton had 12 rebounds and five points for the Czechs, who fell to 1-2. Top three teams from each of the four groups advance to the second round.