Russian authorities this year declared Navalny's organizations to be extremist, and hardly any Kremlin critics have been allowed on the ballot for the parliament election. Although the other sizable parties on the ballot routinely support President Vladimir Putin — as does United Russia — Smart Voting's intent is to undermine United Russia's dominance of the political landscape, thereby casting a shadow on Putin.
Navalny devised the idea in 2018 and it has proved to be effective in previous regional elections. In 2019, it helped opposition candidates win 20 of 45 seats on the Moscow city council.
Authorities have blocked most access to Smart Voting's website, leaving it available largely through apps, and it is unclear how widely it will be used in the parliamentary election.