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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FSB is on Alert for Elections

The Federal Security Service said Monday that anti-terrorist safeguards would be stepped up in preparation for elections, but one critic said the measures were aimed at stifling the opposition.

FSB director Nikolai Patrushev said there would be a tough contest ahead of State Duma elections in December and the presidential vote in March.

"The quantity of mass political events will increase and, accordingly, the quantity of security issues and anti-terrorist measures will rise," he said on Vesti-24 state television.

But Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and a leader of The Other Russia, an alliance of opposition groups, said possible terrorist attacks were not the principal reason for the increased security.

"Instead of fighting against terrorism, the FSB is fighting against dissent," Kasparov said.

"It seems to me this brazenness is directed from above, and the FSB thinks it runs the country, and that their primary duty is to ensure power for the current regime and not their direct responsibilities to Russian citizens," Kasparov said.

Kasparov was speaking at a news conference to address The Other Russia's inability to secure a venue to hold a Moscow conference Sunday.

On Friday, a movie theater pulled out from hosting the prepaid and prearranged regional conference to discuss The Other Russia's single opposition candidate for the presidential election.

On Saturday, the group's alternative site, the Izmailovo hotel, said activists could not meet there either.

Activists said the cancellations looked like they had come under pressure from authorities.