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Russian Supreme Court orders suspension of political party that ran Ksenia Sobchak and high-profile Moscow opposition candidate
Source: Interfax

Russia’s Supreme Court has ruled in accordance with a request from the Justice Ministry to put a temporary ban on the Civic Initiative party’s activities. The shutdown order will last three months. Alexey Obukhov, the press secretary for party chair Dmitry Gudkov, first told Interfax about the order.

“In the coming days, we will hold a federal council meeting to determine our next steps,” Obukhov said, adding that “after all its previous attempts [on the party], the Justice Ministry has still refused to tell us what documents we owe it.”

The Justice Ministry asked the Supreme Court to suspend the party in November, claiming that two violations found during a routine document check were not addressed in time.

The Civic Initiative party was first officially registered in 2013. Media celebrity Ksenia Sobchak ran for Russia’s presidency on the party’s nomination in 2018, receiving 1.68 percent of the vote and sparking widespread controversy about her campaign’s effects on the country’s opposition movement.

Dmitry Gudkov has led the party since summer 2018 and attempted to change its name to The Party of Change multiple times without success. In the summer of 2019, he was among the most high-profile opposition candidates who was not permitted to register for the Moscow City Duma race. That wave of registration rejections sparked several mass protests, which were accompanied by mass arrests and criminal charges against demonstrators.