Former Pussy Riot lawyer launches blockchain-powered referendum to challenge Putin's inauguration

Quick Take

  • Former Pussy Riot lawyer Mark Feygin has launched a referendum using a blockchain-based voting app to challenge the Russian elections.
  • The Russia2024 app deploys Rarimo’s “Freedom Tool” — an anti-surveillance voting solution using blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography, according to developer Rarilabs.

Opposition activist and former lawyer for the band Pussy Riot, Mark Feygin, has launched a referendum on the blockchain-based voting app Russia2024 that aims to challenge Vladimir Putin’s inauguration as president in the country.

Presidential elections were held in Russia from March 15 to 17, and Putin’s inauguration took place on Tuesday this week. Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist protest and performance art group known for political activism and opposition to Putin. One of the band's cofounders, Nadya Tolokonnikova, is a long-time advocate of crypto and has raised millions of dollars for causes through the sale of NFTs in the past. 

The referendum is the first protest vote to go live on Russia2024 following two months of audits and white hat hacker stress tests. It invites citizens to cast votes challenging the Russian elections, according to a statement shared with The Block.

The app was built using Rarimo’s open-source “Freedom Tool,” a surveillance-free voting solution that leverages blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography. Rarimo is a privacy-first social protocol developed by Kyiv-based Rarilabs.

The tool purely enables a means of protest. However, it ensures citizens can poll, vote and protest without being tracked, Rarilabs claimed.

“Dissent in Russia is growing more risky and public opinion harder to track,” Feygin said. “It is critical that we provide reliable, surveillance-proof avenues for protest and polling. Russia2024 and its underlying technology has enabled that.”

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