A volunteer that was beaten while canvassing for Ksenia Sobchak’s presidential campaign over the weekend has been identified as a one-time member of a pro-Putin nationalist group.
Sergei Selyukov was assaulted and hospitalized after collecting signatures for Sobchak in a northern Moscow suburb last Sunday, the presidential candidate said in a statement on her blog.
Social media users recognized Selyukov as an ex-National Liberation Movement provocateur who took part in multiple attacks on local opposition activists, The Insider news website reported Tuesday.
A YouTube video screenshot depicting Selyukov kicking an activist was posted on Twitter by Vladislav Zdolnikov, an IT consultant associated with opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund.
Selyukov reportedly left the pro-Putin movement last spring after accusing its leader of pursuing “ulterior motives."
On the day of Selyukov’s beating, Yevgeny Roizman, an opposition politician and the mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city of Yekaterinburg, warned in a YouTube video that the outcome of the 2018 election was pre-determined in Putin’s favor.
“All official figures without exception […] were explicitly ordered to ensure maximum turnout,” he said.
“Another very serious thing I’ll tell you is that all financial and commercial groups here in the region have been instructed to collect signatures for Putin and Sobchak," he said.
Sobchak has been criticized as a “spoiler” candidate that has been allowed to run as a “Kremlin-approved steam valve” for Russia’s westernized liberal opposition.