Noon against Putin: Protests outside Russian embassy in Bulgaria’s capital against ‘election’

Hundreds of Russian citizens queued up at noon in front of the Russian embassy in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on March 17.

This happened against the background of the call by the Russian anti-Putin opposition for Russians to turn out in large numbers outside polling stations at noon, in a peaceful, symbolic protest against the foregone conclusion that Russia’s “elections” would anoint Vladimir Putin for a further, fifth term in office as president.

As with the equivalent events in many other cities where polling stations were open, it was difficult to assess what proportion of the crowd outside the Russian embassy in Sofia were protesting and how many were there to genuinely cast a ballot. However, the swelling of the crowd at the announced time of the protest was notable.

Outside the security perimeter of the embassy, there was a protest event organised by Bulgaria’s Rise Up extra-parliamentary grouping.

At a table, there were two ballot boxes, one with a photo of recently deceased opposition leader Alexei Navalny, with the label “peace” and the other with a photo of Putin, labelled “war”.

Outside the embassy, Russian citizen Andrei Karpov was filmed demonstratively burning his passport as a sign of protest against Putin.

Shortly before 5pm, a protest was held in the area of ​​the Russian embassy in Sofia, organised by the Mati Ukraine Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Bulgaria, together with the Boets civic movement and the Ukrainian Vulik educational centre, Bulgarian National Radio reported.

According to the protesters, elections in Russia and in the occupied territories are illegal and undemocratic, and voting for a Russian president in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories – Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions – is illegal and criminal.

Elsewhere in Europe, among those taking part in protests outside Russian embassies was Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya, who appeared outside the embassy in Berlin, having earlier publicly backed the Noon against Putin protest.

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “The ongoing campaign in the Russian Federation to imitate presidential elections, which the Russian authorities are conducting in the temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions, as well as in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, demonstrates the Russian Federation’s continued flagrant disregard for international law norms and principles”.

Despite the repeated condemnation by the international community of the Russian Federation’s holding of legally null and void events in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine under the guise of “pseudo-referendums” and “elections”, the Russian leadership deliberately ignores calls for an end to such actions and, contrary to numerous UN General Assembly resolutions and decisions of a number of other authoritative international organizations in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, continues to attempt to annex the territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation as a result of armed aggression by extending Russian legislation to them, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasizes that holding ‘elections’ of the President of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine – the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine – is illegal and will not have any legal consequences”.

Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mihai Popșoi said on X ( on March 17: “We strongly condemn Russia’s unauthorized electoral activities on the sovereign territory of Moldova in the Administrative Territorial Units of the Left Bank of the Nistru. We call upon the international community to uphold a rule-based order & denounce Russia’s actions.”

In a separate message on X, he said: “The Republic of Moldova firmly condemns the conduct of Russian presidential elections in the Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of international law. We reiterate our support to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia”.

The Sofia Globe staff

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