Skip to main content

Election officials ban former Team Navalny staffer from collecting signatures for State Duma nomination due to ‘anti-FBK law’

Citing the recently adopted “anti-FBK law,” a district election commission in Moscow has rejected a former Team Navalny staffer’s application to open an electoral account for collecting signatures for nomination to the State Duma.

The campaign team for Oleg Stepanov — who previously headed Alexey Navalny’s Moscow headquarters — said that they submitted the necessary documents to nominate him for September’s parliamentary race to the local election commission for Moscow’s Nagatinsky district on June 19. “They accepted the documents. Then they fell silent. We waited three days and today, 10 minutes before the election commission closes, we received a response,” Stepanov’s campaign team wrote on Telegram.

The commission rejected Stepanov’s application, citing the fact that citizens involved in the activities of illegal “extremist” organizations are banned from running in elections in Russia from the time the court ruling prohibiting the organization's activities enters into legal force.

“But with regard to me there’s no [court] decision on my involvement in extremist activities! [...] Moreover, even the decision regarding the FBK hasn’t entered into legal force and may not have time to enter [into force] before the end of the elections!” Stepanov wrote on Telegram.

Oleg Stepanov’s campaign team plans to challenge the district election commission’s decision in court.

Oleg Stepanov has been under house arrest since late January in connection with the so-called “Sanitary Case.”

On June 9, the Moscow City Court sided with local prosecutors and designated Alexey Navalny’s political infrastructure as illegal “extremist” organizations, terminating his team’s activities effective immediately. The ruling applied specifically to the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), the Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation (both of which Russia’s Justice Ministry has already designated as “foreign agents”), and Navalny’s nationwide network of campaign offices. 

A few days beforehand, on June 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the so-called “anti-FBK law,” banning people involved in the activities of outlawed extremist and terrorist organizations from running in elections in Russia at all levels.