Election officials in Perm bar former Navalny staffer from running for City Duma
Election officials in Perm have barred Sergey Ukhov, the former head of Navalny’s regional campaign office, from running in the upcoming City Duma elections, reports the business newspaper Kommersant.
Earlier, the district election commission gave Ukhov permission to open a campaign bank account and start collecting nomination signatures to support his candidacy.
Spokespeople for the election commission said that Ukhov’s nomination was annulled following an audit by the Justice Ministry, which revealed the candidate’s involvement “in the activities of an extremist or terrorist organization.”
Ukhov told Kommersant that he plans to continue campaigning and will challenge the district election commission’s decision in court. “I said that the court’s decision [designating Navalny’s organizations as ‘extremist’] hasn’t entered into force yet and affiliation to extremist activities must be established in court. But none of the commission members responded to these arguments,” he said.
The law banning people linked to outlawed extremist or terrorist groups from running for elected office in Russia was adopted in May 2021. Though it stipulates that a potential candidate’s “extremist” ties must be proven in court, election officials have already started using it as grounds for barring opposition candidates.
On June 9, the Moscow City Court sided with local prosecutors and designated Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), the Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, and national network of campaign offices as “extremist organizations.” This terminated his team’s activities effective immediately.
Citing the new law, election officials in Moscow have refused to register opposition politician Ilya Yashin’s candidacy in an upcoming by-election for the City Duma and barred former Navalny coordinator Oleg Stepanov from registering his State Duma candidacy bid. On July 7, the Moscow City Court recognized the decision to reject Yashin’s candidacy as legal.