- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2012

Russian opposition groups have extended their online election for new leadership because a cyberattack knocked voting sites offline over the weekend.

“Voting will continue until 8 p.m. Moscow time” on Monday, Dennis Yudin of the Central Elections Commission told quasi-official Iranian Press TV.

He said the organizers want to make sure everyone has a chance to vote.

The online election will choose a 45-member Coordinating Committee in an effort by the fractious opposition to unify its three warring political elements: leftists, liberals and nationalists.

More than 200,000 Russians who registered to vote can participate online or in person at special Internet balloting places set up by activists.

For much of the weekend, the voting website was inaccessible because of a cyberattack by unknown assailants.

“Oh how they do love to fear elections,” opposition leader Alexei Navalny posted on the instant messaging website Twitter, apparently in a dig at President Vladimir Putin’s government.

Others were less circumspect in blaming the Kremlin.

“There’s no doubt that the special services are standing behind this attack,” opposition leader Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and a candidate in the online election, told reporters Sunday.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.