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Ruling political party deletes St. Petersburg acting governor's online bio, after he claims in debate to be unaffiliated

Hours after St. Petersburg Acting Governor Alexander Beglov declared himself to be the gubernatorial race’s only candidate without party affiliation, his biography disappeared from the website of United Russia, the country’s ruling political party. Still archived by Internet search engines, Beglov’s United Russia bio described him as a member of the party’s high council and the former head of its St. Petersburg branch. The online anomaly was first reported by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

In the debate on August 13, Beglov faced off against gubernatorial candidates from the Communist Party, Civic Platform, and Just Russia. At one point, the Putin appointee claimed to be the “only executive” of the group, insisting that he “doesn’t belong to any of the parties.” He later stated that his “party is the people.”

The St. Petersburg region holds its gubernatorial election on September 8. Vyacheslav Makarov, the speaker of St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly and the head of United Russia’s regional division, says the party endorses Beglov, despite his decision to run as an independent.