Google pulls Russian opposition leader's YouTube advert ahead of vote

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Google removed a YouTube advert by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after authorities complained that the videos would violate an election silence law before Sunday’s vote for regional governors, an aide to Navalny said on Saturday. The series of YouTube videos featured Navalny inviting Russians to join demonstrations on Sunday, when polls suggest President Vladimir Putin’s former chief-of-staff Sergei Sobyanin will be comfortably re-elected as the capital’s mayor. Navalny’s aide, Leonid Volkov, said in a social media post that Google deleted the videos after the Central Election Commission had sent a letter of complaint to Google about the advertisement — a demand Volkov called illegal. Google’s Russian office said in an emailed comment: “We consider all justified appeals from state bodies. We also require advertisers to act in accordance with the local law and our advertising policies.” Navalny, who ran against Sobyanin in 2013 and had planned to lead a protest against proposed pension changes on Sunday, will spend election day behind bars after being convicted of violating protest laws. His supporters plan to demonstrate across Russia. While Sobyanin appears on track for an easy win, public anger over the planned increases to the nationwide pension age means many voters may stay away, which would tarnish his victory, some political analysts have said. 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removed a YouTube advert by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after authorities complained that the videos would violate an election silence law before Sundayu0027s vote for regional governors, an aide to Navalny said on Saturday.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThe series of YouTube videos featured Navalny inviting Russians to join demonstrations on Sunday, when polls suggest President Vladimir Putinu0027s former chief-of-staff Sergei Sobyanin will be comfortably re-elected as the capitalu0027s mayor.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eNavalnyu0027s aide, Leonid Volkov, said in a social media post that Google deleted the videos after the Central Election Commission had sent a letter of complaint to Google about the advertisement — a demand Volkov called illegal.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eGoogleu0027s Russian office said in an emailed comment: “We consider all justified appeals from state bodies. We also require advertisers to act in accordance with the local law and our advertising policies.”u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eNavalny, who ran against Sobyanin in 2013 and had planned to lead a protest against proposed pension changes on Sunday, will spend election day behind bars after being convicted of violating protest laws. His supporters plan to demonstrate across Russia.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eWhile Sobyanin appears on track for an easy win, public anger over the planned increases to the nationwide pension age means many voters may stay away, which would tarnish his victory, some political analysts have said.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eElections will also be held for the governorships of another 25 of Russiau0027s 85 regions.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003c/pu003en”,”attribution”:{“type”:”default”,”content”:”Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Helen Popper”},”images”:[{“url”:”//s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180908u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302283400u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE870MN”,”title”:”FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a rally in protest against court decision to block the Telegram messenger because it violated Russian regulations, in Moscow”,”caption”:”FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a rally in protest against court decision to block the Telegram messenger because it violated Russian regulations, in Moscow, Russia, April 30, 2018. 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