A July 2 Change.org petition demanding that Moscow city officials stop using legal obstacles to block independent candidates from running for seats in the Moscow City Duma had collected nearly 4,800 signatures at the time of this publication. The text of the petition says it is supported by notable cultural figures like novelist Ludmila Ulitskaya and journalist Viktor Shenderovich.
In response to the petition’s appearance, representatives of the Moscow Election Commission said that all candidates are equal under the Russian Constitution. They added, “All speculation on this topic, all attempts to place pressure on election commissions in defiance of the law, are impermissible.” The federal Central Election Commission also announced that it had not received complaints of opposition candidates being barred from the capital’s municipal elections.
Supporters of opposition politician Alexey Navalny said several days ago that they had discovered an attempt to falsify signatures for some Moscow City Duma Candidates en masse. The text of the petition also claims that election commission members may attempt to use legal technicalities to reject real signatures on candidates’ applications.