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City Hall Offers Prospekt Sakharova for Navalny Rally

Alexei Navalny speaking to supporters in Sokolniki Park late Sunday. Evgeny Feldman

Moscow City Hall has offered to allow mayoral candidate Alexei Navalny's campaign to hold a pre-election rally on Prospekt Sakharova on Sept. 6 after rejecting a previous request from the campaign for the rally to be held on Vorobyovy Gory overlooking central Moscow, reported Tuesday.

The campaign is seeking to organize a rally for up to 25,000 people in the run-up to the Sept. 8 mayoral election.

Alexei Mayorov, head of City Hall's security department, told Interfax that there are many events this time of year in the lead-up to Moscow City Day on Sept. 7, but they are determined to "find everyone a space where they can comfortably hold their event."

Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny's campaign headquarters, told Interfax that the campaign had requested an explanation as to why they were denied permission to hold a rally on  Vorobyovy Gory and suggestions for alternative locations.

On Sunday, Navalny held the first highly publicized meeting with voters and supporters on Sokolnicheskaya Ploshchad. According to his campaign, it was attended by 4,500 people. The opposition leader was detained on the stage at the end of the meeting. He was soon released and said the police had not explained to him why he was arrested.

Navalny's previous meetings had only been announced to the residents of a specific neighborhood.

Navalny's campaign is in the middle of its last major fund-raising drive ahead of the election. They are seeking money for radio ads, Internet advertising and the Sept. 6 rally, Navalny campaigner Vladimir Ashurkov wrote on Facebook. Money raised would allow the campaign to "super-size" its efforts in the last week before the election he said.

Acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin will win by a landslide in the mayoral election that will be held in one round, the latest VtsIOM public opinion poll predicted Tuesday.

The poll showed that if the upcoming election were held next Sunday, the leader of the mayoral race would remain the incumbent with 52 percent, compared to 53 percent in an earlier poll held on Aug. 1.

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