Students across Russia were threatened with expulsion from their dormitories if they failed to vote in the country’s presidential election, it has been claimed.
In an audio clip posted on YouTube and viewed more than 80,000 times, a teacher at a university in Siberia was heard telling students that “this is not up for discussion, we are going to vote here”.
The educator at the institution in Ulan-Ude, in eastern Siberia, told students that she would “drag you here by the scruff of the neck” if necessary, although she added that they could vote for the candidate of their choice.
The Ulan-Ude incident emerged in an audio recording published on the YouTube channel of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, the Politico website said.
Arguably Vladimir Putin’s biggest challenger, Mr Navalny was barred from running because of a dubious criminal conviction and has urged Russians to boycott the vote.
Despite Mr Putin’s predicted landslide victory – registering about three-quarters of the vote – government officials had been ordered to secure a strong turnout of about 70 per cent to give him a strong mandate amid concerns that fewer voters would reach the polls to re-elect the former KGB chief.
The turnout was about 60 per cent, with voters offered the chance to win smartphones by voting, Politico said.