Russian opposition politician Oleg Shein denied on Sunday that he and his supporters are on the brink of death over their 24-day hunger strike to protest alleged rigging of regional elections.
Prominent bloggers and civil society activists Yelizaveta Glinka and Yevgeny Roizman said in separate reports this weekend that Shein and many of his supporters are in danger of “irreversible changes” in their health condition. Glinka said Shein risks dying of heart attack.
But the politician, who ran as a candidate for A Just Russia party in the mayoral elections in the southern city of Astrakhan on March 4, said that bloggers’ reports were “utter nonsense.”
“People who write such terrors just do not have the understanding of what a hunger strike is,” he told RIA Novosti. “We’re taking good care of our health.”
Sixteen people are currently supporting the hunger strike, which, according to Shein, has a rotating cast of participants. Six dropped out of the strike on advice of Glinka, who met with them earlier this week.
Shein scored less than 30 percent of the votes in the Astrakhan elections, compared to 60 percent for Mikhail Stolyarov of the ruling United Russia. Shein insists the vote was heavily rigged, with violations allegedly documented by surveillance cameras at the polling stations, and demands a repeat vote.